Creating College-Going Cultures for our Children: Narratives of TRIO Upward Bound Program Alumni

Date of Award


Degree Name

Ph.D. in Educational Leadership


Department of Educational Administration


Advisor: Mary Ziskin


This qualitative research study used critical narrative inquiry methods to investigate the experiences of TRIO Upward Bound Program alumni during their program participation, and to explore how those experiences, according to participants' own accounts, influenced their creation of a college-college going culture in their households for their own children. TRIO Upward Bound is a federally funded college access program that serves first-generation, low-income high school students, providing support and motivation to pursue higher education. Study participants were alumni of TRIO Upward Bound Programs in the state of Ohio who have earned a baccalaureate degree or higher, and are now the parents of college-enrolled or college-graduated children. The theoretical frameworks utilized in these analyses were cultural and social capital, and funds of knowledge. Study participants described receiving assistance with their high school-to-college transition, academic support, and mentoring through their participation in Upward Bound. They also shared that Upward Bound exposed them to experiences that increased their cultural and social capital, building upon the funds of knowledge they had received from their parents and other family members. The participants further recounted how they used their Upward Bound Program experiences to shape college-going cultures in their homes, and create pathways into higher education for their children. Implications for practice involving student recruitment, alumni connections, and creating college-going cultures are detailed, as well as implications for policy that include increased funding for TRIO Programs, participant tracking beyond six years after high school graduation, and changes in federal reporting structures.


Education, Secondary Education, Higher Education, TRIO Upward Bound Program, First-Generation College Students, College-Going Culture, Forms of Capital, Cultural Capital, Social Capital, Funds of Knowledge, College Access, Parental Involvement, Student Success, African-American Students

Rights Statement

Copyright © 2019, author