The pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade experiences of postsecondary students who identified as economically disadvantaged at rural schools
Bruton, Christopher Michael
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Students of economic disadvantage are entering college at lower rates than their more financially affluent peers. While much of the existing literature provides information about the reasons why students of poverty forego a college education, little research exists concerning the experiences of students with financial hardships that aspire to and obtain college entrance, specifically those who reside in rural districts. The purpose of this study was to discover the experiences of postsecondary students who identified as economically disadvantaged in their pre-kindergarten through twelfth grade matriculation in rural schools. Participants who received free or reduced price lunch for a minimum of four years in a rural school were interviewed to find the essence of the factors that contributed to their successful postsecondary attainment. Six themes emerged through data analysis: resiliency in spite of negative familial circumstances; desire to improve socioeconomic status; education as a means of improvement; the presence of positive influences; feelings of marginalization; and demystification of higher education.