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Austin, Kelly Matthew (2011) PARENTAL INFLUENCES ON FIRST-GENERATION COLLEGE STUDENTS: CASE STUDIES OF ENROLLMENT AND PERSISTENCE. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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In this study, I investigate the various ways in which parents of first-generation college students influence their children's capacity to acquire the requisite cultural capital needed to enroll and persist in college, as well as the ways in which first-generation students acquire this capital in other ways. The purpose of this study is to gain a better understanding of how parents influence a first-generation college student's desire to enroll in college and persist. In addition, the aim of the study is to gauge the influence of parental involvement on first-generation college student persistence while in college. The study examines how parents aid students' acquisition of the requisite cultural capital needed to better position them to attend college. It describes how the socioeconomic background and social class of families influence their capacity to connect to social networks that have the capacity to increase the educational aspirations of their children. The central research question of this study is to then understand how and to what extent families play a role in the educational goals past the secondary level for first-generation college students. Further, how do first-generation college students describe their home lives prior to college?This study examines these issues through the interrelated theoretical framework that employs Bourdieu's theories on habitus and cultural capital (1977). Participants were actively involved at the time of this study in the TRIO Student Support Services program at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford. This study uses an open-ended semi-structured interview format with a sample of purposefully selected respondents. Parents of participants in this study were supportive of their children's inclination to attend college; however, their capacity to offer direct academic support was limited by their own educational background. Further, participants exhibited a high level of involvement in extracurricular activities, an important factor in the development of their educational aspirations. This involvement was only moderately supported by parents of participants.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Austin, Kelly Matthewkaustin@pitt.eduKAUSTIN
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGunzenhauser, Michaelmgunzen@pitt.eduMGUNZEN
Committee MemberWeidman, Johnweidman@pitt.eduWEIDMAN
Committee MemberWilliams,
Committee MemberBickel, Williambickel@pitt.eduBICKEL
Date: 13 May 2011
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 3 March 2011
Approval Date: 13 May 2011
Submission Date: 4 April 2011
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Administrative and Policy Studies
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Case Study; Cultural Capital; First-Generation College Students; Habitus
Other ID:, etd-04042011-104755
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:34
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:38


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