Date Approved


Graduate Degree Type


Degree Name

Education (M.Ed.)

Degree Program

College of Education

First Advisor

Dr. Chasity Bailey-Fakhoury

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Holohan

Third Advisor

Dr. David A. Martin, Jr.

Academic Year



Although low-income students of color share similar desires as their White, affluent counterparts to attend college, studies indicate that they are at a disadvantage in accumulating the dominant social capital needed to access higher education. Research has yet to explore the accumulation of social capital through community-based organizations to help students access higher education. The purpose of this exploratory qualitative study was to identify the strategies community-based organizations use to help low-income students of color access higher education, using a social capital framework. Nine participants from three different types of community-based organizations participated in this study, including staff, students, and alumni. Nine individual semi-structured interviews, one focus group, and a document analysis of textual artifacts revealed that community-based organization staff have the ability to expand students’ social networks and connect students with opportunities to accumulate dominant forms of capital needed to access higher education. Community-based organizations also use strategies like providing monetary resources, advising, direct programming, assessments, and empowering relationships to help students access higher education. The findings of this study indicate that further research should explore the relationship between social capital, low-income students of color, access to higher education, and community-based organizations. The results of this study can be used by scholars, educators, and community-based organization service providers to better understand the effect of social capital on access to life opportunities.

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