Student mental health, potential students, higher education, graduation rates, retention rates


With a declining population of traditional college aged students, institutions must find both new student groups to recruit and do a better job at retaining them. One obvious pool for institutions to consider are first-generation students who do not have family traditions of going to college. This population, along with others, require institutions to understand the personal development of young adults and the factors that might lead to their college enrollment. The purpose for conducting the study was to identify how college presidents perceive the importance of human capital capacity for college students in their decision to enroll in college. The study made use of a sample of 400 college presidents from different types of institutions, asking them to rate their agreement with different human capital variables and their perception of that variable as being a contributor to college enrollment. President had the highest mean agreement levels with the human capital variables of developing a strong work ethic, developing personal confidence, and developing resilience. They had the lowest mean agreement levels with learning how to take advice, wisdom, and understanding personal and family history and lore. An exploratory factor analysis provided clusters of responses, including larger themes such as self-determination and personal grit.