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ERIC Number: ED552780
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 138
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2679-9753-1
Understanding the Persistence of Low-Income Students in Postsecondary Education: An Interpretive Phenomenological Analysis
DeVries, Paul
ProQuest LLC, Ed.D. Dissertation, Northeastern University
In contemporary America, postsecondary education has now become almost a prerequisite for anyone wishing to matriculate into a higher socioeconomic class. Over the last five decades there has been a steady increase in the number of high school students entering college and university, with now over 75% of high school graduates enrolling in some form of postsecondary education. Unfortunately, extensive research indicates a student's chances of persistence in postsecondary education are far from equitable, a construct that is largely delineated by socioeconomic status. Current graduation rates of colleges and universities in the United States indicate that low-socioeconomic status students are far less likely to be retained in postsecondary education when compared to students in higher socioeconomic classes. This is the problem of practice addressed within this study. The researcher conducted a qualitative, interview based study that sought to gain a greater understanding of the low graduation and persistence rates among low-income students. The two primary questions guiding this study were: (1) How do low-income students understand their socioeconomic status as being a factor in their ability to persist in postsecondary education? (2) How do low-income students understand their prior educational experiences and their ability to persist in postsecondary education? The theoretical framework for this study was centered on the social and academic relationships that a student formed during their enrollment in postsecondary education. As this study sought to understand the lived experiences of students, data was collected and analyzed using an interpretive phenomenological methodology. The findings from the study indicate that low-income students are able to overcome the numerous hurdles inherent within their SES. Consistent with extant research, the participants appeared in many regards to personify the typical characteristics of low-income students in higher education. The majority of participant families were headed by parents without a postsecondary credential, and all had experienced significant adversity due to their low-income status both in secondary and postsecondary education. However, with the support from numerous ancillary groups and their own innate desire to succeed they were all able to persist. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A