American students are increasingly accessing higher education (U.S. Department of Education, 2016a); yet, only 60% of first-time, full-time students will complete a bachelor’s degree within six years (U. S. Department of Education, 2016b). While these are current statistics, opportunity programs were instituted in the 1960s to address issues of access, acclimation, and navigation in college, specifically for low-income, first-generation college students. Due to the limited financial, human, and physical resources available in opportunity programs, not all students can participate even if they desire to and meet the criteria. Thus, unaffiliated students must navigate college using their own resources and college knowledge, which requires the attainment and deployment of capital. The present phenomenological study sought to understand the college navigation experiences of low-income, first-generation Black women undergraduates at a historically white institution (HWI), particularly as Black women account for the bulk of the increase in college enrollment rates (Banks, 2009; Gold, 2011; USDOE, 2016c).
Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) (Yosso, 2005) provides the framework for analysis. Limited research about Black females in higher education, except relative to Black males or white women necessitates this study employ the lens of standpoint theory, which enables the population of study to have agency in the telling of their stories (Collins, 2000; Harding, 2004; Heckman, 1997). Via semi-structured interviews of eight low-income, first-generation Black college women who are not affiliated with opportunity programs and a follow-up focus group with six of these eight women, the study asked how the participants navigated college and what kinds of CCW they used to do so. The following themes emerged from the research: resources at the college; resources outside the college; view of the college; invisibility and visibility; and double-consciousness. Study findings suggest that participants deployed multiple forms of CCW to navigate unwelcoming spaces, connect with others, create communities of support, challenge unsupportive administrators and policies, and advocate for themselves. Recommendations for educators are also discussed.
|Commitee:||Sanon-Jules, Lisa, Tomlinson-Clarke, Saundra, Winkler, Matthew|
|School:||Rutgers The State University of New Jersey, School of Graduate Studies|
|Department:||Education, Culture, and Society|
|School Location:||United States -- New Jersey|
|Source:||DAI-A 77/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Black studies, Womens studies, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Black women, Community cultural wealth, First-generation, Intersectionality, Invisibility, Low-income|
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