A study of the relationship between selected background/psychosocial variables and the persistence of Hispanic female community college students.
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This study on Hispanic females (HF) in a two-year community college setting was guided by two research questions. To what extent do persister and non-persister Hispanic female students differ on each of the following 14 selected variables found in Bean and Eaton's (2000) Psychological Model of College Student Retention: 1) age, 2) marital status, 3) employment, 4) household income, 5) number of children, 6) level of planned education, 7) enrollment status, 8) generational status, 9) financial aid assistance, 10) semester hours completed, 11) self-efficacy, 12) motivational goals, 13) institutional commitment, and 14) parental influence? Secondly, do persisters and non-persisters differ in their first semester course-taking patterns and completion rates? The research design used in this study was a non-experimental, quantitative, survey design. A two-part questionnaire was employed to collect background data and information on psychosocial variables. The sample consisted of 424 students of which 124 (29.3%) responded. Of the 124 responders, 88 (71%) were classified as persisters and 36 (29%) were non-persisters. For Research Question 1, chi-square analysis and t-tests were used to analyze the differences between persisters and non-persisters. For Research Question 2, descriptive analyses were employed to provide a profile of the differences in first-semester course-taking patterns and completion rates. This study found that HF persisters differed significantly from HF non-persisters on five background and two psychosocial variables, with persisters tending to be: 1) single, 2) unemployed, 3) more interested in obtaining a bachelor's degree, 4) first in their families to attend college, 5) more influenced by their parents to pursue educational goals, 6) more motivated,and 7) more committed to their institution. Findings related to Research Question 2 showed that HF persisters out performed HF non-persisters as follows: (1) 73% completed their mathematics course compared to 42%, (2) 88% completed an English course compared to 59%, (3) 88% completed college level courses compared to 38%, and (4) only 1.1% withdrew of failed all their classes compared to 16.7%. This study provides suggestions as to how colleges with large enrollments of HF students could work with these students and their parents before and after they first enroll and come on campus. Recommendations are made for improving current advising systems and ford reviewing HF academic, social, and psychological progress.