Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

M.A. Higher Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Stephanie Lezotte, Ph.D.

Committee Member 1

Tyrone McCombs, Ph.D.

Committee Member 2

Drew Tinnin, Ed.D.


alumni giving, recent alumni, first-generation alumni


First-generation college students; Rowan University--Alumni and alumnae


Higher Education


The purpose of this research study was to evaluate the perceptions first-generation alumni at Rowan University had towards their alma mater and explore reasons why they give back or not. In addition, this study provides recommendations to Rowan University on how they can better engage first-generation alumni. This study utilized surveys and quantitative data analysis in order to analyze the perceptions and giving behaviors of first-generation alumni. The participants in this study were first-generation alumni that graduated from Rowan University after 2006. The most significant themes were (a) first-generation alumni give back to their alma mater Rowan University at higher rates than the institutions alumni giving rate, (b) first-generation alumni give and volunteer with various nonprofits and charities, (c) finances hinder first-generation alumni from giving back to their alma mater Rowan University. The findings also revealed first-generation alumni's desire to still be connected and engaged by their alma mater. Recommendations include suggestions for the Division of University Advancement to do yearly or bi-yearly email audits of their alumni, Rowan University should develop a mentorship program for their first-generation students and Alumni Engagement staff should host programs, events, or activities to engage first-generation alumni that connect them to current first-generation students.