Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Shon, Herbert


As a first-generation student, it is difficult to navigate a higher education with little to no support. Having an undocumented status as a first-generation student the challenges and barriers increase. This study utilized snowball sampling through qualitative virtual interviews with 10 undocumented first-generation students. The data collected from the interviews was presented using content thematic analysis. The three major themes identified were access and barriers to financial resources, meeting family and educational expectations and perseverance. The findings identified the limited financial resources for undocumented students, and the influence of the family unit on the student’s educational experience. A key finding of this research was students’ determination to overcome their unique obstacles. This study identified the gaps in assistance and resources available through college institutions. Researchers recognized recommendations to address the gaps, by incorporating collaborations between institutional programs and emphasizing the importance of social work professionals to continue practicing cultural competency. A suggestion for future research is to increase sample size by connecting with different institutions initially.

Included in

Social Work Commons