“Those invisible barriers are real”: The Progression of First-Generation Students Through Doctoral Education

Author(s):
Gardner, Susan K.; Holley, Karri A.
Publication Year:
2011
Source:
Equity & Excellence in Education

Using the conceptual framework of social capital, this study outlines the experiences of 20 first-generation students currently enrolled in doctoral degree programs. The framework highlights those structures and processes that offer tacit knowledge to students about how to pursue higher education. For students who are the first in their families to attend college, this knowledge is often elusive. Through individual interviews, data were collected to understand student isolation, financial challenges, and sources of support. Implications for institutions are offered.

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