Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name



Higher Education

First Advisor

Christine A. Nelson

Second Advisor

Leslie Hasche

Third Advisor

D-L Stewart

Fourth Advisor

Saran Stewart

Fifth Advisor

Michele Tyson


Access, Community violence, First-generation student, Higher education, Home community environment, Persistence


There are 15 national outcomes as part of Jamaica’s strategic goals for Vision 2030. Among the 15, the second outcome focuses on world-class education and training, the fifth looks at security and safety, and the fifteenth addresses sustainable urban and rural development (Vision 2030, 2018). First-generation Jamaican students represent a fraction of the Vision 2030 discussion around increasing access to higher education, eliminating crime and violence, poverty, and creating safe community environments. Accordingly, in (post)colonial Jamaica, challenges faced by first-generation students are compounded (Roofe et al., 2022). While many first-generation students attend universities in Jamaica, local studies examining first-generation students are rare (Paterson & Hutchinson, 2019).

Utilizing Bronfenbrenner’s Ecological Systems Theory through a (post)colonial lens, this study provided an in-depth understanding of the role of home community environments in shaping first-generation Jamaican university students’ access and persistence. Specifically, through liming and photovoice methodologies, a total of ten participants shared how their rural and urban inner-city communities shaped their university journey and experiences. The study’s four findings revealed that first-generation Jamaican university students' access and persistence were motivated by their home community environments, pre-university experiences within primary and high schools, levels of engagement at university, and the recognition of their true potential. The findings were used to develop the H.O.P.E. (Home, Opportunity, Persistence, Elevation) model for first-generation Jamaican university students to understand the role of home community environments in their higher education access and persistence. The study outlines implications for policy and practice emphasizing the need to understand first-generation university students’ home community environments through the H.O.P.E. model. The study further presents recommendations for policymakers, government leaders, educators, higher education leaders, and administrators.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.


Received from ProQuest

Rights holder

Shenhaye C. Ferguson

File size

356 pgs

File format





Higher education

Available for download on Thursday, September 26, 2024