Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


College of Education, Doctoral Program

First Advisor

Hall, Horace

Second Advisor

Chennault, Ronald

Third Advisor

Johnson, Valeria C.


This study employs an anti-deficit perspective in exploring how the parents of first generation, low-income African American students positively influence their child’s choice to attend college. This study examines the positive direct and indirect actions taken by African American parents with limited monetary resources to encourage their child to decide to attend college when they have not finished a four-year degree themselves. A qualitative approach that includes a critical narrative inquiry design was adopted to deconstructing the stories of the various families and provide a space to uncover assumptions about knowledge, power and reflexivity. Furthermore, this study deconstructs the participants’ stories and expose deficit-informed information and research that silence and distort the experiences of the participants instead focusing on their racialized and classed experiences as sources of strength. The two theoretical frameworks used to undergird the research problem and questions from an anti-deficit perspective that accounts for the cultural nuances of African American families during the college choice process are Freeman’s model of African American students during predisposition and Harper’s Anti-Deficit Achievement Framework. Findings conclude that low-income African American parents who have not completed a four-year degree are highly involved in the college choice process, set high expectations for their children, and are their child’s greatest advocate.