First-Generation, Low-Income College Students During the First Semester in Higher Education: Challenges and Successes
AuthorChhen Stewart, Lee
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Typically, studies first-generation, low-income students have focused on the financial aid and academic preparedness to enter college and persist. These researchers have found little data about first-generation, low-income students once they enter higher education. One question largely unexplored has been why some first-generation, low-income students continue to go through the revolving door of college while others remain resilient and persist to achieve their undergraduate degree. The purpose of this case study was to answer the question: How do first-generation, low-income college students describe their challenges and successes during their first-semester in higher education? The intent of the study was to gain a deeper understanding of challenges and successes from the perspective of first-generation, low-income students. Data were gathered from eight participants through an initial interview at the beginning of the first semester, three focus group discussions during the semester, and an final interview at the end of the semester. Data analysis of transcribed interviews and focus group discussions provided a first-hand perspective of the challenges and successes of first-generation, low-income students during their first semester. Findings suggested that the first semester of college was more successful than challenging in the context of family, academics, and social. Parents were the most discussed in regards to the emotional and psychological support, financial support, and level of interaction with students during the first semester.