Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Tinnin, Andrew

Committee Member 1

Walpole, MaryBeth

Committee Member 2

McCombs, Tyrone


learning communities, student retention, persistence


First-generation college students; Minority college students


Higher Education


The primary purpose of this study was to analyze Rowan University's Flying First and ASCEND learning communities in regard to first-generation minority student persistence. The study took place at Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ in the spring 2020 semester. The purpose for this qualitative study is to explore the impact that the Flying First and ASCEND/RISE learning communities have on first-generation minority student persistence using an outcomes assessment. Researchers have conducted a plethora of research on learning communities, marginalized first-generation students, and persistence/retention rates. However, there has been little research done on the topic of all three themes and how they contribute to first-generation minority student experiences and success on college campuses. According to the research, first-generation students often do not return to their institution after the first year, indicating that they are less likely to persist through to graduation, learning communities have had a significant effect in aiding students in their persistence due to the accessibility to resources, faculty/staff, and engagement opportunities (Gilbert-Thomas, 2018). As a result of the study, the data suggests that students who are members of either learning community feel as though they have adequate resources, faculty/staff interaction, and an increased sense of belonging which aids in their overall well-being and persistence.