Skip Navigation
small NCES header image
PEDAR: Executive Summary First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Look at Their College Transcripts
Introduction
First-Generation Students in Postsecondary Education: A Brief Portrait
Remedial Coursetaking
Undergraduate Major
Credits Earned
Coursetaking in Selected Areas
Postsecondary Performance
Factors Related to Degree Completion and Persistence
Conclusion
Research Methodology
References
Full Report (PDF)
Executive Summary (PDF)
Conclusion

The findings from this report indicate that compared with students whose parents attended college, first-generation students consistently remained at a disadvantage after entering postsecondary education: they completed fewer credits, took fewer academic courses, earned lower grades, needed more remedial assistance, and were more likely to withdraw from or repeat courses they attempted. As a result, the likelihood of attaining a bachelor’s degree was lower for first-generation students compared to their peers whose parents attended college. This finding also held after taking into account variables related to degree completion including postsecondary credit production, performance, high school academic preparation, and student background characteristics. Even for students who attended a 4-year institution with the intention of earning a bachelor’s degree, first-generation students were less likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than were their counterparts whose parents held a bachelor’s or higher degree.

However, when the outcome measure was broadened to include persistence (i.e., the likelihood of earning any postsecondary credential or still being enrolled), no difference between first-generation students and their peers whose parents attended college was detected after controlling for related variables.


Research Methodologynext section

Would you like to help us improve our products and website by taking a short survey?

YES, I would like to take the survey

or

No Thanks

The survey consists of a few short questions and takes less than one minute to complete.
National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education