Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Sophie Filibert

Second Advisor

Dr. Amanda Pascale

Rights Statement

Third Advisor

Dr. Madalina Tanese

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Lucy Croft

Department Chair

Dr. Liz Gregg

College Dean

Dr. Dean Diane Yendol-Hoppey


The increase of first-generation college students of color (FGCSOC) in the United States who attend predominately White institutions (PWI) warrants explorations of how to effectively serve this demographic. Support programs, like Trio, have been implemented to positively engage students at critical stages of their college experiences. Are such programs contributing to the intended academic success of these students? Rooted in Kuh’s and Kahu’s conceptual frameworks of student engagement that address student behavior, institutional support, and student’s lived experiences, this study’s author investigated the relationship between student engagement and high-impact practices (HIPs) at a postsecondary institution. A non-experimental, cross-sectional quantitative design for this study was used to explore the association between high-impact practices and student grade point average (GPA), as well as examine the relationship between high-impact practices, GPA, and student background characteristics of Trio program participants. Analysis of the responses indicated a statistically significant negative correlation between GPA and the increase of academic support program attendance as well as students who worked with other Trio students outside of the program to prepare assignments. Among the 22 HIPs that were examined, five practices emerged as the most significant to positive student engagement in college. Based on this study findings, insight is offered about ways to enhance FGCSOC’s healthy self-esteem and well-being at PWIs thereby positively impacting their overall academic success in college.