chapter  7
27 Pages


Th e goal of improving degree attainment in the United States is closely linked to the nation’s economic goals; for example, the aim of improving the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) educated workforce is widely advocated (e.g., Commission on the Skills of the American Workforce, 2007; Conklin & Curran, 2005). Th e common argument is that the workforce of the future will require a higher percentage of technically educated college graduates than is now the case. In addition, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has dedicated substantial resources to doubling the percentage of low-income students who graduate from college in the next 3 decades (Hoff man, Vargas, Venezia, & Miller, 2007). In this context, it is important to learn more about the factors that promote degree attainment.