White, Working Class, First Generation College Student Narrations of the “Value” of a College Education

By Angela Thering.

Published by The Learner Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

American colleges are considered classed environments. First generation college students often have difficulties navigating the system of higher education. This qualitative, interview-based study focuses on how a group of 18 white, working-class, undergraduate first-generation students attending a large northeastern research university narrate their educational and social experiences. Two main themes which were drawn from this qualitative study were that the participants viewed college as a means to an end to earn a “piece of paper” which would serve as a future job credential, and this group of students thought that although there are “no guarantees”, a college education would lead them to the sort of job that would allow them to live more comfortably than their working class parents.

Keywords: First Generation College Student, Critical White Studies, Higher Education, Working Class Studies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 18, Issue 4, pp.49-60. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 809.671KB).

Dr. Angela Thering

Assistant Professor, Education Department, Buffalo, New York, USA

Dr. Thering is an assistant professor at D’Youville College in Buffalo, New York. Her interests are first-generation college students, working class studies, globalization, critical race theory, critical white studies, and social studies education. Dr. Thering teaches courses in the social and philosophical foundations of education and social studies methods.


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