Reena Patel

Date of Award

Fall 2020

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation


Educational Leadership and Policies

First Advisor

Susan Bon


In this descriptive study, I examined data from the Bill and Melinda Gates Millennial Scholars Cohort 3 Longitudinal Survey which comprised of high- achieving, low-income and historically marginalized college students, to compare students whose parents never attended college (“True” FCGS) to students whose parents attended but did not graduate along five variables: academic preparation, academic transition, academic and social integration, and academic outcome patterns. This study addressed a significant void in prior research with respect to the need for a clearly established FGCS definition. Bourdieu’s social and cultural capital framework is the theoretical foundation for this study because his theory is useful in analyzing the unique characteristics of historically marginalized FGCS, especially “true” FGCS, and their academic outcomes. While social and cultural can be acquired, Bourdieu asserted those with high socioeconomic backgrounds and affiliation with dominant institutional culture would possess greater capital. This capital advantage is characterized by having a knowledgeable and wellconnected environment that stems from financial privilege and manifests itself in certain ways for capitally privileged college students. The application of Bourdieu’s theory to historically marginalized “true” FGCS characteristics can help advance our understanding of their academic outcomes.

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