Retention of undergraduate white male students at Missouri University of Science and Technology
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At STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) focused higher education institutions, academics and retaining students are challenging. To uncover obstacles that prevent white male students, in STEM-focused programs, from retaining to their second year of college, a mixed methods approach using Astin's I-E-O model was used. A survey to students, interviews with advisors, and institutional data were utilized to understand the complexity of retaining students in their first year. Research, prior to this study, focused on particular cohorts of students and/or specific factors of retention. This study broadened the scope of identifying factors that can predict retention (both high school and college first term) and showed that retention is more complex than one factor. High school preparation, financial needs, sense of belonging, math placement, and first term academic outcomes all play a significant role in retaining students to their second year of college. The expectation from results of this study will assist STEM focused institutions in building predictive models that will increase retention of first year students.