First and Poor: Understanding How First-Generation Low- Income Students at Elite University Formulate and Understand Their Sense of Belonging in the Age of COVID-19

Ndeh Willy Anyu, University of Pennsylvania

Abstract

Prior research has been conducted on the experience of first-generation low- income students as well as how sense of belonging impacts their lived experiences (Engle & Tinto, 2008; Jack, 2019; Strayhorn, 2012). But most of these studies focus on students attending proprietary and two- and four-year public postsecondary institutions. Additionally, because the Coronavirus pandemic is the first pandemic to halt life as we know it on a global level since the 1918 Spanish Flu pandemic, very few researchers have studied the impact it has had on first-generation low-income students at Americas most prestigious and highly selective colleges and universities. Utilizing phenomenological methods, this research study examined lived experience of ten first-generation low- income undergraduate students within one of the most selective universities in the nation. This study explored how these participants viewed their experience before the pandemic and now during it traversing what has been called “the new normal.” Moreover, this study uncovered how these experiences assisted in informing or un-informing their sense of belonging within this institution. Furthermore, the findings from this study serve as a catalyst to inform highly selective institutions on how they can create more equitable policies and practices aimed at supporting their first-generation low-income populations.

Subject Area

Education|Educational leadership

Recommended Citation

Anyu, Ndeh Willy, "First and Poor: Understanding How First-Generation Low- Income Students at Elite University Formulate and Understand Their Sense of Belonging in the Age of COVID-19" (2021). Dissertations available from ProQuest. AAI28414650.
https://repository.upenn.edu/dissertations/AAI28414650

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