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Relationship Between Family Financial Resources & 6-year Graduation Rates, 2nd-Fall Retention Rates

The tables below show the relationship between family financial resources and two variables: (Table 1) 6-year graduation rate, and (Table 2) retention to the 2nd fall, for new fall freshmen entering over a three-year period, divided by residency. “Family resources” is actually Expected Family Contribution (EFC) to the student’s educational expenses, as calculated by the Financial Aid office based on family income and other factors. The amounts calculated for each student, including freshmen and transfers, entering in a given fiscal year are divided into quartiles, with the lowest quartile assigned a value of “1,” next lowest “2,” and so on. Students who do not apply for need-based financial aid have no calculated EFC, but are assumed to have more resources than any student who does apply for aid, and so are assigned a value of “5.”

Table 1 shows 6-year graduation rates for new fall freshmen entering in the falls of 1998, 1999, and 2000 – the three most recent entering classes who have had six full years in which to complete their degrees. It shows a positive relationship, for both residents and nonresidents, between family resources and graduation rate – with some exceptions, the higher the resource category, the higher the graduation rate. However, this does not imply that having a lower income in itself causes a lower probability of graduating. Several other factors associated with lower income, including lower scores on measures of academic preparation (standardized test scores and high school grades), student of color status, and first generation status, are also themselves linked to lower graduation rates.

Table 2 shows the relationship between family resources and retention to the 2nd fall, for fall freshmen entering in 2003, 2004, and 2005. It shows a similar relationship to that between resources and graduation, although less consistent, and all the same caveats apply.

Click here for a similar analysis of the relationship between first-generation college student status and graduation/retention.


Table 1.
6-yr grad rates by family resources category                                                       
For new fall frosh entering 1998-2000


                                                   Residency status at entry

                                               N                              R

                                       Grad by 6th summer             Grad by 6th summer

                                     N         Grad       %         N         Grad       %

 Family resources category,
 1=low
 1                                      212        100     47%         622        355     57%
 2                                      273        129     47%         954        604     63%
 3                                      374        200     53%       1,154        751     65%
 4                                      850        540     64%       1,152        889     77%
 5                                    4,410      2,810     64%       3,913      2,756     70%
 All                                  6,119      3,779     62%       7,795      5,355     69%







Table 2.
2nd fall retention rates by family resources category                                              
For new fall frosh entering 2003-2005


                                                   Residency status at entry

                                               N                              R

                                       Enrolled 2nd fall              Enrolled 2nd fall

                                     N       Retained     %         N       Retained     %

 Family resources category,
 1=low
 1                                      336        251     75%       1,294      1,104     85%
 2                                      327        222     68%       1,241      1,000     81%
 3                                      514        399     78%       1,490      1,254     84%
 4                                    1,116        910     82%       1,418      1,256     89%
 5                                    4,188      3,397     81%       3,779      3,316     88%
 All                                  6,481      5,179     80%       9,222      7,930     86%

PS - L:\ir\emgt\fa\EFCandGradRate.doc

Last revision 10/22/08


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