AEFP 45th Annual Conference

Toward a Meaningful Impact through Research, Policy & Practice

March 19-21, 2020

Financial, Academic, and Immigration Determinants of Latinx Graduation from 2 and 4 Year Public Institutions

Heather Epstein-Diaz, Florida State University,

College affordability remains of critical importance for Latinx students considering and entering postsecondary education. One of the largest barriers for immigrant or first-generation Latinx students is how they will pay for college. Although how Latinx students pay for college is well-documented in the literature, many studies are qualitative in nature and treat Latinx students as a generationally homogenous group. Employing a logistic regression approach, this study utilizes the 2004 Beginning Postsecondary Study (BPS 2004) dataset and seeks to investigate the relationship between federal aid, institutional aid, immigrant status, High School GPA, and family income on Latinx college student degree attainment from 2-year and 4-year public institutions. Participants included a nationally representative sample of 510 Latinx tenth-grade students enrolled across the United States in 2004.



Thanks for sharing your work! I think it could be useful to clearly define who is a second- and third-generation Latinx individual. I say this because there are several studies that start their counts of who is first-generation at different points. I also think it could be useful to tease out why we expect differences between second- and third-generation individuals. Is there theory that is being relied on around assimilation or acculturation? It could be useful to explore where these expectations are coming from because they might suggest additional variables to be included in the models. I agree that exploring heterogeneity within these larger groups is necessary, just trying to think of ways to help explore that. Thanks again for sharing and let me know if I can be helpful in the future!

Heather, very nice and well motivated! Curious - why include only Latinx in your sample? Be interesting to see Latinx compared to Black, White students. Then you could do some additional testing of interactions of Latinx with y-gen in terms of differences in generation status dependent on being Latinx. As you move forward you want to give us a broader context, especially during the time period of your data, which are dated some. Always the tradeoff no doubt on info and timing!

Thank you for sharing your poster. With regard to your research question (“What is the relationship between degree attainment and financial variables such as socioeconomic status, gender, campus aid amounts, applying for federal aid, parental income, and parental education for second-generation and third-generation Latinx students?”) I wonder about the utility of studying these relationships. Is the goal to understand causal relationships or to generate predictive capability? After reading your “Major Takeaways”, I see that the goal is to understand causal relationships (e.g., “a one unit increase in parental income increased the odds of earning a degree”). Note, I do think that these kinds of multivariate regressions can yield us insights into the likely magnitude and direction of causal impacts, but one needs to be diligent in considering alternative explanations as well as to interpret coefficients with regard to other included variables. For example, the effect of parental income is *conditional* on federal financial aid. Likely the *total* effect of parental income is smaller as more income lowers federal financial aid which raises degree attainment. Note: financial aid is shown as having a coefficient of 0 that is statistically significant. Is this the effect of $1 of aid? Could you show these effects in $1,000s? Finally, I am guessing that parental income here is measured in categorical ranges – correct? So, is this showing the effect of a one-unit increase in parental income, and are you assuming the same effect of each categorical unit increase?

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