Publication Date



Open access

Embargo Period


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EDD)


Educational and Psychological Studies (Education)

Date of Defense


First Committee Member

Debbiesiu L. Lee

Second Committee Member

Carol-Anne Phekoo

Third Committee Member

Soyeon Ahn

Fourth Committee Member

Kysha Harriell


Higher education continues to grapple with addressing the successful retention and degree attainment of first-generation students. Further, there is limited research that explores implications of first-generation status by racial or ethnic group. Black women who are first-generation are members of at least two groups that have been historically marginalized in education. Although the percentage of Black women participating in higher education has increased, graduation rates for this demographic remains disproportionate. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore factors that contribute to college persistence of Black, female, first-generation college students. Research questions that were explored include: (1) how do Black, female, first-generation college students experience college and, (2) what are Black, female, first-generation college students’ perceptions about factors that contribute to their persistence in college? The setting was a predominately White, private, mid-sized institution in the state of Florida, and the participants were Black, female, first-generation college students. The methodology used was a multi-method qualitative approach. Results contribute significantly to past research that examines the persistence of first-generation college students. More specifically, this study adds to the discourse on first-generation Black, female students and can be used to make recommendations that guide institutional best practices and policy.


Black female; first-generation college students; academic persistence