First-Generation Indonesian Undergraduates’ Persistence: A Phenomenological Study

Mulyadin & Rahyasih / Journal of Southwest Jiaotong University / April 2021

In 2013, the tuition reform was undertaken in Indonesian higher education and, in turn, has facilitated the growing enrollments of undergraduates from lower-income families. Most of them are the first in their families to go to college. The increasing presence of first-generation students at campus requires sufficient understanding and necessary support from college personnel to allow them to succeed in their degree pursuit. Hence, by using social capital as the framework, this study attempted to dismantle the experiences of persistence of first-generation Indonesian undergraduates. The participants of this study were Indonesians who have earned a bachelor’s degree within the last five years and had neither parent has attended college.

This study employed a phenomenological method to obtain the substance of how first-generation undergraduates in Indonesia interpret, process, and experience their persistence in college. The data collection was undertaken by use of two methods: questionnaire and interview. For data analysis, the study performed a set of analysis steps consisting of epoche, phenomenological reduction, imaginative variation, and structural/textual descriptions synthesis. Based on the analyzed interviews, there were six themes identified regarding support sources of persistence of Indonesian undergraduates: a) family; b) faculty and staff; c) friends; d) pre-college information; e) self-motivation; and f) financial aid. From the findings of this study, to enhance Indonesian undergraduates’ success in remaining in and then graduating from college, institutions need to do as follows: building a learning community, organizing a first-year program, facilitating student-faculty relations, and offering essentially academic support.