Abstract: (Withdrawn) Will I Stay?: Exploring the College Experience of Black First-Generation College Students (Society for Social Work and Research 27th Annual Conference - Social Work Science and Complex Problems: Battling Inequities + Building Solutions)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Mountain Standard Time Zone (MST).

SSWR 2023 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Phoenix A/B, 3rd floor. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 9. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

(Withdrawn) Will I Stay?: Exploring the College Experience of Black First-Generation College Students

Friday, January 13, 2023
Cave Creek, 3rd Level (Sheraton Phoenix Downtown)
* noted as presenting author
Krystal Dozier, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Alabama, AL
Background/Purpose: Retention is determined by examining the percentage of students who return to the same institution to continue their education. This study examines the experiences of Black first-generation college students (FGCS) in relation to retention. Research has explored experiences of FGCS of color, but far less research is specific to Black FGCS. This study contributes to the gap in literature from the social work perspective addressing social injustices experienced by Black FGCS. While studies have discussed the culture of higher education, microaggressions, and racial/ethnic mentor relationships, this study examines how the structural/cultural system of higher education at a predominately white institutions (PWI) can shape the college experience of Black FGCS and impact retention.

Methods: A secondary data analysis was conducted on the Campus Climate Survey on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). This survey used a random sample survey of its student population. The purpose of the study was to assess the current campus climate regarding diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives. The survey was self-administered online; students were randomly selected, and all students had an opportunity to be chosen as a participant. Survey questions focused on demographics, feelings of safety, experiences at the UM related to DEI, and individual experiences perceived as discriminatory, overall campus climate, and interactions with faculty, staff, and graduate/teaching assistants. To be included in the secondary data analysis study, respondents had to be enrolled in an undergraduate program (n=1,091). In addition, respondents had to identify as African American/Black (n=286) and be born in the United States (n=1,380). Finally, respondents must respond that neither parent/guardian had attended college (n=204). Using the select cases process in SPSS, eligibility criteria were analyzed. After noting for all specific demographic variable, the SPSS analysis yielded 18 respondents who met the secondary data analysis participant eligibility.

Findings: Using a Likert scale, the survey examined the campus climate. The data analysis analyzed questions using the frequencies of the student perceptions of the campus, experiences of racism/discrimination, having a sense of belonging, and the overall campus climate. Findings reflect respondents identified the institutional structure in negative terms as individualistic (49.9%), racist (72.2%), hostile (44.4%), and homogenous (72.2%). Additionally, 72.2% of respondents noted they had experienced racism/discrimination and eighty-three percent described having at least one experience of racism/discrimination while on campus. A sense of belonging can also impact retention as 38.9% considered leaving the institution due to isolation and not feeling welcomed. Seventy-two percent of respondents found a community where they felt they belonged on the campus. Although, many Black FGCS respondents noted a sense of belonging within communities and groups, many (72.8%) do not feel an overall sense of belonging on the campus.

Conclusion/Implications: Study results have led to identifying a continued need to battle inequities in higher education by supporting Black FGCS. Working in conjunction with faculty and students, the School of Social Work is identifying opportunities to amplify voices of Black FGCS and programming to connect with mentors and build relationships that can support retention.