Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ed.D.)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Second Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther

Third Advisor

Stephen Kotok


The issue of college access for students from low-income communities has been a longstanding challenge in American higher education. Despite numerous efforts to address the gaps in college attendance and graduation rates between students from low-income and more affluent communities, the problem remains present. This has led to a need for an in-depth analysis of college access programming explicitly tailored to low-income communities, particularly those residing in public housing authorities. The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD, 2016) has recognized this need by funding and piloting college access programs in several public housing authorities around the United States. These programs aim to provide greater educational opportunities for residents of closed communities with limited access to higher education, such as public housing authorities. This study examines the cultural capital students residing in public housing authorities utilize to navigate a college access program on-site where they live by employing a case study method highlighting their skills, knowledge, and resources. The Community Cultural Wealth (CCW) model, also called cultural capital, utilizes a non-deficient view, highlighting the six tenets of capital possessed by Black and Latinx students. Aspirational, familial, navigational, resistant, linguistic, and social capital are among the six tenets of the CCW model. The study’s findings indicate that with access to resources and adequate support, students from low-income communities like public housing authorities can succeed in their college trajectories despite their environments. Staff from the PEER Program were also instrumental in the study’s findings, demonstrating their support and guidance beyond the college access process. The findings further revealed that modes of communication, program outreach, cultural support, self-efficacy, emotional state, and a holistic approach emerged as significant themes. Additionally, the participants benefited from encouragement, support, and resources from the PEER Program staff, family, community members, and school personnel extending beyond college access. A pivotal finding of this study is the resilience that kept participants motivated and focused. The study underscores the importance of providing culturally responsive and holistic support to students in low-income communities like public housing authorities by recognizing the importance of their cultural wealth.