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Date of Award


Document Type

Thesis - Pacific Access Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.)



First Advisor

Joanna Royce-Davis

First Committee Member

Thomas Nelson

Second Committee Member

Sandy Mahoney

Third Committee Member

Dennis P. Brennan


Understanding economically disadvantaged students and the ways in which they perceive their environment, enrolled in middle to upper class universities, is essential to the study of student development. Six economically disadvantaged students were studied in order to understand their acquisition of self-efficacy, experienced challenges, and the ways in which they perceived their environment. The interviews revealed important information regarding their identity development in relation to economic status and their challenges and/or setbacks. Moreover, a theoretical framework is presented to assess institutional intent and impact, thus facilitating the disruption of oppressive policies and systems.



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