Ursidae: The Undergraduate Research Journal at the University of Northern Colorado

Faculty Sponsor

Sarah Chase


This qualitative research study explores the relationship of grandparents as a source of knowledge, support and advice for first-generation college students’ decision to pursue higher education. Grandparents can have a positive influence on first-generation college students through emotional support and guidance through the student’s educational career. This study explores students’ perceptions of how they interact with their grandparents for major decisions like pursuing higher education and achieving life goals. Although research has been conducted on first-generation college students there is minimal research on grandparents’ involvement. Data was collected through semi-structured interviews with five to seven participants, who were recruited through a support program at a Rocky Mountain region university. Participants were asked questions regarding their relationship with their grandparent(s). Interviews were transcribed and coded for themes. There were five themes throughout this research which were financial needs, distance, relationship gap, amount of contact and influence of parents. This research contributes to the limited knowledge about the ways in which grandparents can positively impact their grandchildren’s lives and decision to pursue higher education.