Research in Higher Education

, Volume 46, Issue 8, pp 883–928

Measuring Determinants of Student Return VS. Dropout/Stopout VS. Transfer: A First-to-Second Year Analysis of New Freshmen


DOI: 10.1007/s11162-005-6933-7

Cite this article as:
Herzog, S. Res High Educ (2005) 46: 883. doi:10.1007/s11162-005-6933-7


To reflect academic challenges and enrollment patterns of today’s freshmen, this study measures the impact of high school preparation, first-year academic performance, multi-institution enrollment, and financial aid support on second-year persistence. Using multi-year cohorts at a public research university, results confirm the importance of including first-year math experience, math intensity of the declared major, simultaneous enrollment at another college/university, and second-year financial aid offers when measuring freshmen retention. The positive impact of a large-scale, state-funded scholarship program in widening access to college must be balanced against findings that show academic performance and readiness to take on and pass first-year math to be more important than aid in explaining freshmen dropout and transfer-out during both first and second semesters. Middle-income students with greater levels of unmet need face an elevated departure risk, while academically well-prepared freshmen with unmet need are more likely to transfer to other institutions.


student retentionacademic preparationfinancial aidstate-funded scholarshipconcurrent enrollmentmultinomial logistic regression

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institutional AnalysisUniversity of NevadaRenoUSA