Realities of First-Generation, Low-Income Scholars at Predominantly White Institutions: The Emory Experience Open Access

Lin, Priscilla (Spring 2022)

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In recent years, the first-generation, low-income (FLI) community has grown at top universities. In response to this increase, institutions must adopt new strategies to better facilitate the transition to higher academia that their parents did not have access to. Universities cannot claim equal access to education until the inequities that face the FLI student population are addressed. This thesis explores the obstacles that are associated with the FLI experience at predominantly white institutions (PWIs), as it relates to classism and racism, particularly at Emory University. This study identifies how financial disparities manifest throughout the community at Emory, beyond the academic sphere. By conducting ethnographic research at a PWI with a significant percentage of FLI students, this research can shed light on how racism and classism inform one another to further perpetuate these inequalities within this marginalized student population.

Table of Contents


           1.1 Researcher’s Positionality.....3

Chapter 2.1: Scholarly Literature and Methodology.....5

           2.1 A Review of the Literature on First-Generation, Low-Income Students.....5

                      2.1.1 Identity and Belonging.....5

                      2.1.2 Student Retention and Persistence.....7

                  2.1.3 The Value of Higher Education.....8

           2.2 Methodology.....8

Chapter 3: A Far Misrepresentation of Full-Ride Scholarships.....12

           3.1 Only the Wealthy Can Enjoy Being Healthy.....19

Chapter 4: Recollections of What I Would Call a Lack of Direction in our Academics.....23

           4.1 Fed-up with Pre-Meds.....32

Chapter 5: Mad Mac Donald at Emory.....36

           5.1 Social Scene Samples.....45

Chapter 6: 2036…The Future Does Not Start Here.....51

           6.1 $167.09.....55

           6.2 Confronting Club Funding.....57

Conclusion: Afterthoughts in Memory of Emory.....62

           7.1 The Emory Employee.....65


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