Short Title

2023 TCPEA Outstanding Dissertation of the Year


Leadership, Higher Education, First Generation, Student Retention


This phenomenological study explored perceived first-generation college student retention at a Texas four-year higher education institution post-vertical transfer. The participants in this study consisted of 12 full-time and part- time students who identified as first-generation college students and had vertically transferred from a two-year higher education institution. In addition, participants transferred between 35 and 120 academic credit hours from a two-year higher education institution and had been enrolled for at least one academic semester at their four-year higher education institution. On-campus and virtual semi-structured interviews were conducted and analyzed, which resulted in major themes. This study revealed academic and social integration were crucial to retaining first-generation college students post-vertical transfer. In addition, this study identified key support services that the population perceived as the most beneficial in aiding their retention. As a result, this study’s implications can aid four-year higher education institutions in developing effective practices and programs to retain and support first-generation vertical transfer students.



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