Educational Administration, Department of


Date of this Version

Spring 3-26-2015


Curtis, DM (2015). Saying No to College: First Generation, Low-Income Students and the Decision to Not Attend College (Doctoral Dissertation). Retrieved from http//


A DISSERTATION Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Education, Major: Educational Administration (UNL-UNO), Under the Supervision of Professor Jody Isernhagen. Lincoln, Nebraska: May, 2015

Copyright (c) 2015 Deena M. Curtis


The transition of first generation, low-income students from high school to college has been studied in depth but not necessarily from the viewpoint of the students who chose not to attend college or those who fail to complete the processes necessary to attend college. This study focuses on the students attending an alternative/charter school in a large, Midwest metropolitan area and the decision process they have used in making their higher education plans. This qualitative case study follows a unique methodology designed to identify the bounds of the case rather than having predetermined boundaries for the case.

The findings of this study have provided insight into the thoughts of the students exiting high school regarding their ideas and plans for their futures. The information provided by the students presented some potential solutions for the students, school and higher education institutions that can be implemented to help to facilitate the transition of the students of Midwest Academy to college. The tremendous staff of the Academy genuinely cares for their students and can be instrumental in changing the trend of these students falling short of the school’s goal of sending 92% of its students to college.

Advisor: Jody Isernhagen