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The primary purpose of this study was to determine the influence of financial knowledge and selected demographic characteristics on student retention from the second to the third year at a public research university in the southern region of the United States. The accessible population was defined as students in the Fall 2013 entering freshman cohort who were enrolled in the Spring 2015 semester. Measurements including the independent variable represented by the financial knowledge score and 17 other independent variables were collected using a survey instrument and downloaded data from the universitys electronic student information system. A total of 695 students responded, and these data were analyzed utilizing appropriate descriptive measures and stepwise multiple discriminant analysis.
Of the 695 students who responded to the survey, 665 or approximately 96 percent of the students did persist from the second to the third year while the remaining 30 or approximately 4% of the students did not persist. The mean score on the financial knowledge instrument was 68 percent with scores ranging from 15 percent to 100 percent.
Financial knowledge did not have an impact on student retention from the second to the third year in this study. However, further study is recommended on this relationship and the instrument should be administered to a larger sample size and retention evaluated beyond the second to the third year.
A model was identified that increased the ability to correctly classify university students on whether the student did or did not persist from the second to the third year. The model correctly classified 95.7 percent of the students on their retention status. The three variables that entered the model were: high school GPA, college GPA, and on/off-campus living.
Residency status and the amount of loan debt were related to student retention. Students whose race was Black or African American persisted at a lower rate than other races.
Additionally, students who lived off-campus were retained at a higher rate than students who lived on-campus. This conclusion is contrary to previous studies and much of the available research.