This doctoral dissertation by Munni Deb seeks to understand the ways in which South Asian American college students’ experiences of college are affected by their parents’ educational statuses. By analyzing data on academic success and emotional well-being, the author looked at whether students whose parents attended college have advantages in those areas over first generation college students. Deb writes,
More than ever, high school graduates today recognize the important relationship between a college degree and economic, financial, and social mobility. However, the process of pursuing a college education can be challenging and daunting for many students. In order to succeed in college, students must know how to effectively navigate various aspects of their college environment…Since parents of [First Generation College Students] have not attended a post-secondary institution, they are unable to transfer valuable knowledge, information, and resources about college to their children. Consequently, FGCS enroll in college with limited to no social capital and are therefore often handicapped in understanding the culture of higher education and its role in personal and professional development.
Key to distinguishing this study from others on first generation students was disaggregating South Asian students from the extremely broad racial category of Asian/Pacific Islander. Deb states that this is a group who has been under-studied in the past and faces different challenges than other groups based on differences in varying expectations of school and relationships derived from distinct cultural backgrounds.
Deb, Munni. “The effects of generational status on college adjustment and psychological well-being among South Asian American college students.” PhD (Doctor of Philosophy) thesis, University of Iowa, 2015.