Date of Award

Summer 2023

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation



First Advisor

Terry Wolfer


In the United States, many minority group members have lower social status and fewer economic resources than whites. In order to advance their social status, these individuals set goals that provide them access to more economic capital, many of which include obtaining a college degree. It must also be noted, however, that minority individuals, particularly those of African American and Hispanic descent, possess many alternative types of social and cultural capital that assist them in achieving their goals (Strayhorn, 2010). This qualitative study, designed to explore the types of cultural capital minority students use to achieve their career goals, analyzes data derived from interviews conducted with a sample of 42 first-generation students of African American, Hispanic, and biracial identities attending the University of South Carolina, a predominantly white institution (PWI). Each participant identified as a low-income, undergraduate student and was currently pursuing their first college-degree. Findings highlight the presence and use of 12 distinct types of cultural capital in this sample of first-generation minority college students. Future studies should explore the presence and use of these capital types in a larger sample of minority students attending both PWIs and related institutions (HBCUs, MSIs), in greater detail.


© 2023, Brandi Nichole Anderson

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