Date of Award



© 2020 Jodie Ruth Hurley Gay

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Marylin Newell

Second Advisor

Gizelle Luevano

Third Advisor

Samuel Engel


This qualitative phenomenological study was conducted to examine the perceived impact of roommate pairings within university housing, specifically the first-generation college students’ residential experience and its influence on their first-year experience. Conducted at a faith-based, liberal arts university in the southeast, this study captured and shared the stories of its participants and their lived experiences as first-generation college students living with randomly assigned continuing-generation roommates. The research question for the study addressed what effect first-generation college students perceive being paired with continuing-generation students in university housing has on their overall first-year experience.

The conceptual framework for this study was guided by Alexander Astin’s input-environment-outcome (I-E-O) model. Participants’ generational status defined the input, their residential experience and roommate pairing defined the environment, and an examination of their overall first-year experience defined the outcome. This study used a survey and follow-up semi-structured structured interviewss to capture the impact of roommate pairings as perceived by participants. The participants’ responses were organized and analyzed using the predetermined categories of academic success, social integration, retention, and student development.

The primary finding of this study revealed a mixed opinion concerning the perceived impact of pairing roommates of different generational statuses during the first year of college. The results demonstrated: 1) an indirect influence of intergenerational roommate pairings on academic success, 2) a direct influence of intergenerational roommate pairings on social integration, 3) some influence of intergenerational roommate pairings on retention, and 4) inconsistencies concerning the influence of intergenerational roommate pairings on student development. These results are significant for residence life and housing professionals as they provide insight on student perceptions and inform practitioners as they aim to meet the needs retain? Provide a more developmentally appropriate housing experience? of first-generation college students. First-generation college students benefit from a roommate experience that is supportive and from a thriving connection to the university and its community. It is important for practitioners to examine the overall student experience when implementing and designing new initiatives. Recommendations for action include a review of institutional roommate pairing processes and proposed increased collaboration in educational programming.


Ed.D. Dissertation