Individual, Family, and Community Education ETDs

Publication Date

Fall 12-12-2017


For years, universities have focused on student admissions and getting students through their first-year. According to Schaller (2010), this has resulted in limited literature and research regarding the persistence of sophomore students. From Fall 2010 to Fall 2015, the University of New Mexico (UNM) has experienced a decrease in the persistence of its cohorts from the third to the fifth semester. The existence of this higher attrition rate amongst sophomore students has been associated with a phenomenon known as the “sophomore slump” (Tobolowsky & Cox, 2007). The purpose of this research study was to utilize student retention conceptual models to explore the effect of the sophomore slump on sophomore students’ persistence. It included an examination and statistical analysis of several variables that impacted the retention or persistence of a sample of sophomore students at UNM. This research study was conducted using a descriptive quantitative methodology. The variables associated with the pre-entry attributes, cognitive, academics, social engagements, and financial categories were merged into five conceptual models as a mean to investigate if there was a correlational statistical significance within their relationships on the effect of the sophomore slump. Overall, the statistical results of this research study revealed that the two of the financial variables (i.e., lottery scholarship and performance-based scholarship) had the most significant impact on the persistence of sophomore students at the University of New Mexico.


Sophomore students, sophomore slump, second year, persistence, performance-based scholarship, lottery

Document Type




Degree Name

Educational Psychology

Level of Degree


Department Name

Individual, Family, and Community Education

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jay Parkes

Second Committee Member

Terri Flowerday

Third Committee Member

Allison Borden

Fourth Committee Member

Dymaneke Mitchell

Fifth Committee Member

Tracy Skipp