This qualitative study explored the participants' perception of how a program that provided college access and support to low-income students shaped their college experience and their belief in their ability to persist until graduation. The support provided by the Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF) Program at Montclair State University, begins with mandatory participation in a Summer Bridge Program called the EOF Summer Academy. Analysis of 5 semi-structured focus group interviews with Black, male First-Generation college students highlighted three themes: 1) the importance of the Summer Academy in ensuring academic preparedness and formation of peer support networks, 2) the establishment of fictive kin relationships which provided the type of family support that assisted participants prior to their college acceptance, 3) the importance of mentoring relationships as a protective factor to increase retention. This work has implications for the development of comprehensive support services for Black male first generation college students. Black males, many of whom are first generation college students, have faced myriad challenges related to educational attainment. Some of those challenges occur prior to college and may include issues related to their social, physical, or educational environments (Bryan, 2017; Strayhorn 2012). Some, which may include a variety of microaggressions and systemic issues (Hotchkins & Dancy, 2015; Nadal et al., 2014), become evident during the college experience. Still other challenges occur during the transition between their precollege and college experiences (Grace-Odeleye, & Santiago, 2019: Slade et al., 2015). As colleges and universities become increasingly interested in exploring and providing resources to increase retention rates among this vulnerable population, more attention is being focused on that transition. This qualitative study explored the participants' perception of how a program that provided college 43 access and support to low-income students shaped their college experience and their belief in their ability to persist until graduation.
Gordon, R., Hood, D., Stewart, P., & Williams, D. (2021). EOF Advantage: Examining the Effects of a Summer Bridge Program as Part of a Comprehensive Strategy to Support First Generation Black Male Students. Journal of Access, Retention, and Inclusion in Higher Education, 4(1). Retrieved from https://digitalcommons.wcupa.edu/jarihe/vol4/iss1/4