Publication Date

Summer 8-10-2021

Document Type

Action research project: Open access

Degree Name

MA Higher Education Leadership


Leadership Studies



Studies have shown that first-generation commuter (FGC) students navigate their college experience differently in comparison to traditional, continuing generation students. One of the biggest distinctions is how first-generation (FG) students are closely tied to their familial identity. As these students come from an environment and mindset that is more collective and interdependent, they can struggle to find a sense of belonging, community, and support from their institution. By physically living off-campus, FG commuter student’s persistence, well-being, and ability to build relationships on campus can prove to be challenging. Therefore, as a Graduate Assistant in the Commuter Student Commons, I studied the impact of family dynamics of first-generation commuter students at the University of San Diego (USD) to further engage with this community through intentional engagement that validates and supports their unique lived experiences. ­­­