The Impact of Education Abroad Participation on College Student Success Among First-Generation Students

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This study utilized the large-scale, multi-institutional CASSIE dataset to examine the impact of education abroad participation on academic outcomes for first-generation college students. Using robust multivariate matching methodology that effectively minimized self-selection bias, results showed the magnitude of benefit offered by studying abroad was greater for first-generation students than for continuing-generation students. Even after matching on a variety of background and prior achievement variables, first-generation students who studied abroad had higher 4- and 6-year graduation rates, had higher cumulative GPA scores, and took less time to graduate—relative to first-generation students who did not study abroad. These findings suggest that education abroad programming can be leveraged as a high-impact educational practice to promote college completion rates among first-generation students.

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The Journal of Higher Education