Student Retention Analytics: Modeling the Effect of Poverty on College Student Retention


  • Adam GUERRERO PhD, University of the Incarnate Word, United States


Utility maximization theory is used to construct a rational choice model that examines the effects of the determinants of college student retention. The current research examines the impact that poverty has on year-to-year student persistence probabilities for freshmen students enrolled at a multicampus nonprofit private university that serves students from culturally diverse backgrounds. Institutional database records were used to generate a sample of 480 first-time full-time freshmen who were observed in between their freshmen and sophomore years. The dependent variable is a dichotomous measure of persistence taking the value of one if a student re-enrolled during the following academic year, making it possible to cross-examine the results of multiple econometric estimation methodologies including the linear probability model, logistic regression, and probit regression analysis. Additional variables, some of which are new to the persistence literature, are included to control for academic, social, financial, economic, and student background contexts. The study ends with policy-recommendations centered on the creation of attrition-minimization programs for students who come from disadvantaged backgrounds.