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Study Abroad Participation and Engagement Practices of First-generation Undergraduate Students Open Access

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The purpose of this dissertation was to establish if a predictive relationship existed between four student engagement variables and participation in study abroad for first-generation students. Relevant empirical studies and literature of practice on study abroad participation and student engagement were explored through and supported by two models of college impact; Astin's Input-Environment-Outcome model (1970a, 1970b, & 1993) and Pascarella's General Model for Assessing Change (1985). Using secondary data from the 2003 and 2006 administration of the National Survey of Student Engagement College Student Report, a binary multiple logistic regression analysis was conducted to create the final best-fit model for first-generation student participation in study abroad. Although no relationship was found for a student's perception of institutional support, quality of institutional relationships, or involvement with faculty and participation in study abroad, this research found that a student's exposure to diversity was impactful on their decision to seek and complete international study. In addition to the core composite variables examined in this study, three specific background or demographic variables were found to be statistically significant, predictive, and practically important variables for this population of students: living in campus-affiliated housing, enrolling in foreign language coursework, and attending a private institution.

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