The first-year college transition: Exploring the low-income Mexican-American female experience through a funds of knowledge framework
AuthorMala, Monika M.
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Students from low-income backgrounds are attending institutions of higher education in larger numbers than ever before, but their actual degree attainment rates remain low. While these students may not have parents who attended college and lack pre-college rigor, Mexican-American female students from low-income backgrounds are finding ways to persist. This study deployed a phenomenological qualitative approach to explore students’ perceptions of their first year of college. Information was collected about students’ pre-college preparation, the role of their family and community, and their experiences on the college campus. Findings illustrate that funds of knowledge were found in many of the Mexican-American female students’ experiences. Students gained financial knowledge, relationship building skills, sense of belonging, college and academic knowledge through the experiences of their parents, their work environment and their relationships with teachers and peers. Implications include the expansion of the funds of knowledge framework with the use of the student perspective and recommendations that inform higher education practices surrounding students from low-income backgrounds.