Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

James Lampley

Committee Members

Don Good, Keith Johnson


First-generation college students represent a significant percentage of all college students and comprise various sub-identities and unique backgrounds. Compared to continuing generation college students, many first-generation students arrive on college campuses without complete understanding of how to navigate college life. Factors, such as family support, finding a sense of belonging, and the availability of resources and campus support, play key roles in the overall success of first-generation college students. The current study sought understanding of these aspects of college life and their relationship to the success of Black, first-generation, graduates of predominantly White institutions.

The purpose of this qualitative, phenomenological study was to document the undergraduate experiences of Black, first-generation college graduates who attended predominantly White institutions. Recorded Zoom video interview sessions of 11 participants supplied the study data. Each interview lasted between 60 to 75 minutes. The data revealed that the participants persisted and graduated despite having minimal financial support, navigating psychological barriers, such as feeling the need to assimilate and facing macro-aggressions regarding race. Scholarship money was the most common deciding factor when choosing their alma maters. Factors such as support from Black faculty and staff and personal motivation were key to their persistence and graduation.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.