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Date of Award

5-2010

Document Type

Campus Access

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program

Education

First Advisor

Joseph B. Berger

Second Advisor

Elizabeth Williams

Third Advisor

Gloria DiFulvio

Subject Categories

Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching | Education Policy | Higher Education

Abstract

This study utilized the Beginning Postsecondary Student (BPS) longitudinal data set (2004-2006) from the National Center for Educational Statistics (NCES), which will follow for six academic years a nationally representative sample of students who began their postsecondary education during the 2004-2005 academic year. The purpose of this study is to examine the impact of paid employment during the first year of college on first-generation academic success and first to second year persistence as compared to non first-generation students enrolled at 4-year institutions. First-generation students were observed to have a higher average number of hours worked in a week as well as GPA scores than non first-generation students. An independent samples t-test was performed in order to determine whether there was a significant difference between the groups. Considering the number of hours worked by the student, it was found that there was again a significant difference between the first-generation and non first-generation students, t = 8.57, p < .05. In fact, first-generation students would work almost four more hours on average than non first-generation students would. There was a significant relationship between the number of hours worked per week and the persistence of the student, t(200) = -9.25, p < .01. In fact, the model predicted that those who were still in their persistence track worked 10.82 fewer hours a week than students who are not in their track anymore. This indicated that students who were still on track did not work as many hours a week (not including study hours) as students who did not continue with their track. Based on this information, it was found that there was a significant relationship between the persistence track and the generation of the student, χ2(n = 1490, df = 1) = 23.15, p < .01. This indicated that whether the student was still on track depended on whether the student was a first or non first-generation student. In fact, those students who were first generation students were expected to be still on track more frequently than were observed (expected value was greater than observed value).

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