An Examination of First Generation Students and Program Administrators' Perceptions Regarding Academic and Social Support Offered at Albany Technical College


Wendy Wilson

Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership


This study examined the perceptions of first generation students and program administrators regarding the academic and social support offered at Albany Technical College(ATC). This is a mixed-methods study that offered insight into the programmatic practices designed to improve the retention and graduation outcomes of first generation (first gen) students at ATC. This study complements the current body of literature about the challenges and conditions that influence the matriculation and graduation of the underserved population. Post-secondary institutions that enroll first generation students can benefit from learning about the experiences shared by student and program administrator participants.

Prospective participants were identified with the support of Albany Technical College’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness. The institution is the only technical college within Albany, Georgia. Enrollment includes over 3,000 full time students and 2,500 part-time students of which over 75% represent underserved and or first generation students.

The study involved 37 students and five program administrators. Of the the 37 students, all 37 participated in the survey aspect of the study and eight participated in semi-structured interviews. Five program administrators participated in the semi-structured interviews. The survey used was designed, administered analyzed through the instrument, Survey Monkey. Interviews were transcribed, coded and a comparative analysis was conducted across all study participants.

Perspectives offered by both groups correlated regarding the influence of socioeconomic status and limited academic preparedness. Contrasting perspectives regarding students limited engagement of support services were identified. Overall student and program administrator study participants concurred that academic and social integration programming lend to the academic and social development of first generation students attending the college.

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