The role of social capital and mediating factors in Hispanic student college retention.
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This dissertation study describes the characteristics of Hispanic students who were and were not retained at the university level. Two-hundred and forty-five undergraduate Hispanic students answered survey and assessment questions about their network of close relationships, attitudes towards ethnic identity, and degree of acculturation. Data gathered indicated that their perception of their English language proficiency was the strongest predictor of retention from the fall to the spring semester. Students who were retained reported a higher sense of belonging as compared with those who did not return after the fall semester. Female students reported higher levels of ethnic identity and reported having friends in high school that were more academically supportive as compared with the male students in the sample. Foreign-born students also had higher levels of ethnic identity and acculturation when compared with the students from the United States. Both freshman and senior students had higher levels of social agency as compared with the junior students. Follow-up interviews suggested that participation in groups and individual determination are important factors in retention.
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