• Presentation

Talking ‘Bout My Generation: Defining ‘First-Generation Students’ in Higher Education Research


Toutkoushian, R. K., Stollberg, R. A., & Slaton, K. (2015, Oct). Talking 'Bout My Generation: Defining 'First-Generation Students' in Higher Education Research.


In this study, we used data from the Education Longitudinal Study to determine if the way in which researchers define first-generation status matters with regard to its effects on the postsecondary aspirations and actions of students. We found that depending on the definition used, the set of first-generation students varied from 20% to 77% of the sample. Despite the large differences in the groups of first-generation students in our study, however, we still found that the signs and significance levels of the first-generation dummy variables were consistent across definitions, but differed in magnitude.