Date of Award

Spring 5-4-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Philip Pendley

Second Advisor

Dr. Linda Williams

Third Advisor

Dr. Carol Riley


Purpose: The purpose of this phenomenological study is to describe the perceptions first-generation students (FGS) have of the academic impact of student support services (SSS) received while attending community college (CC) in the areas of student academic achievement, student engagement, student persistence, student satisfaction, and development of academic skills.

Methodology: The methodology used for this study was a phenomenological approach in which FGS’ perceptions about the academic impact of SSS while attending CC in the northern region of California were explored. The FGS who were interviewed for this study were consistently participating in the SSS. The study’s findings revealed the best practices utilized in SSS and might provide reasoning to adapt additional best practices that could especially be used while working with FGS.

Findings: The analyzed data resulted in eight themes and 75 references. All participants contributed to six themes that emerged, identifying the academic impact on FGS with regards to the received student support services.

Conclusions: After completing the literature review and interviewing 10 FGS who had been consistently participating in the SSS, the study results concluded that SSS had a significant academic impact on first-generation CC students in northern California in the areas of student academic achievement, engagement, persistence, satisfaction, and development of academic skills.

Recommendations: Based on the findings from the study, five recommendations were put forth for future research to advance the understanding and best practices of SSS that may lead to making a significant academic impact on FGS retention and graduation rates.