Student Characteristics, Pre-College, College, and Environmental Factors as Predictors of Persisting in and Earning a STEM Degree: An Analysis of Students Attending a Hispanic Serving Institution

Gloria Crisp, University of Texas
Amanda Taggart, Utah State University
Amaury Nora, University of Texas


This study examined the demographic, pre-college, environmental, and college factors that impact students’ interests in and decisions to earn a science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) degree among students attending a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI). Results indicated that Hispanic students were well represented among STEM majors, and students’ decisions to declare a STEM major and earn a STEM degree were uniquely influenced by students’ gender, ethnicity, SAT math score, and high school percentile. Earning a STEM degree was related to students’ first-semester GPA and enrollment in mathematics and science “gatekeeper” courses. Findings indicate that HSIs may be an important point of access for students in STEM fields and may also provide opportunity for more equitable outcomes for Hispanic students.