While open access is still possible at community colleges and state colleges in Florida through the Florida College System, and the numbers of those enrolling are increasing, retention of first generation students is still an issue. Florida has increased the opportunity to attend college by limiting the barrier that inadequate financial support held for many by offering Florida Bright Futures Scholarships, which originally paid all tuition and now continue to pay a significant portion, and free college tuition and books through dual enrollment credit to high school students who qualify. Any student meeting the GPA, standardized test scores, and course requirements before graduation is eligible to receive a Florida Bright Futures Scholarship. Dual enrollment has also increased access. While still in high school, students who meet the GPA and standardized test score requirements are allowed to earn college credits for free. Unfortunately, first generation students are still not succeeding in the first two years of college at the same rate as other segments of the population. Current literature presents reasons for this lack of persistence mostly at the university level but does not directly address what first generation students’ view as the pre-collegiate academic factors contributing to their persistence. Since the majority of first generation students begin at community and state colleges in Florida, these students’ perceptions need to be the focal point. The purpose of this study was to fill this gap and identify those academic pre-collegiate experiences which influence first generation students’ retention once they begin college. These included encouraging students to qualify and participate in dual enrollment and giving high school counselors more resources to provide dual enrollment, college preparatory information, and scholarship opportunities to freshmen, sophomores, and their parents. Tutoring in math and English needs to be provided at secondary institutions as it is at public colleges to better prepare first generation students for college placement tests and qualifications for dual enrollment and scholarships. College advisors should be given full knowledge of the ramifications of their scheduling for students and how allowing them to withdraw from courses directly impacts their continuing eligibility for scholarships and/or grants and how the courses they schedule for students during the first two years effects the final two years at a university. Finally, high school freshmen and sophomores should be present at assemblies and presentations for seniors who are receiving awards, honors, and scholarships.
|Advisor:||O'Toole, Carol Berg|
|Commitee:||Halverson, Jerome, Walling, Griffin|
|Department:||School of Education|
|School Location:||United States -- Minnesota|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/01, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Community college education, Secondary education, Higher education|
|Keywords:||Community college, First generation, First-generation students, Higher education, Persistence, Phenomenological, Retention|
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