Date of Award

Spring 3-26-2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. General Davie

Second Advisor

Dr. Keith Larick

Third Advisor

Dr. Jalin Johnson


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative multiple case study was to describe the academic, financial, and social institutional factors that African American female First- Generation College Student seniors perceive supported their persistence at Historically Black Colleges and Universities as outlined in Tinto’s College Retention Theory (1990, 1993) and Tinto’s Framework for Institutional Action (2012).

Methodology: This study utilized a qualitative multiple-case study methodology to record the perceptions of eight African American female First-Generation College Student seniors regarding the academic, financial, and social institutional factors that allowed them to persist at their Historically Black College and University. Respondents were purposively selected through snowball sampling. Semi-structured interviews were used to capture their lived experiences.

Findings: There were six major findings that emerged as a result of the data collection and analysis. Institutional academic supports from faculty, staff, and professors and labs and student support centers were needed for persistence among the African American female First-Generation College Students seniors. Scholarships were a necessary institutional financial support for the participants to persist through their senior year. Participation in on-campus programs, informal relationships with faculty and mentors, and friends were institutional social supports needed for persistence.

Conclusions: The conclusions indicated that institutional academic, financial, and social supports are equally needed for African American female FGCS to persist throughout college. The conclusions showed there is value in having informal and formal relationships with faculty, professors, and staff as well as access to student labs and support centers were needed to help the participants overcome the rigors of college. Scholarships are a requirement for African American female First-Generation College Students to fund their collegiate education. Furthermore, having friends allowed the participants to feel sense of belonging and connectedness on their campuses.

Recommendations: Recommendations include providing funding for faculty and staff training regarding proper instructional behaviors that provide academic support to African American female First-Generation College Students. It is also recommended that increased federal grants, industry stipends, and guaranteed work-study jobs be provided to meet Student financial needs. African American female First-Generation College Students need faculty mentors to support them throughout their collegiate programs.