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Author ORCID Identifier


Open Access Dissertation

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Program


Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded


First Advisor

Naomi Gerstel

Second Advisor

C.N. Le

Third Advisor

Jen Lundquist

Fourth Advisor

Kysa Nygreen

Subject Categories

Higher Education | Race and Ethnicity | Sociology


While the significance of familial support in college receives substantial and growing attention, Asian American college students’ experiences of such support remain unclear. In a series of three articles that draw on a total of 140 intensive semi-structured interviews, this dissertation explores the effect class has on students’ experiences of three different types of familial support: 1) students’ receipt of parental support, 2) students’ provision of parental support, and 3) students’ receipt of sibling support. The first article The Power of Class and Not Institution Type: Asian American Four and Two-Year College Students’ Receipt of Parental Support” employs a trichotomous class design and finds that class affects the amount of financial and academic support four and two-year students receive from parents. Across institution type, students from more disadvantaged backgrounds receive substantially less of this help; however, academic support most impedes college students’ academic success. The second article “‘It’s More Us Helping Them Instead of Them Helping Us’: How Class Disadvantage Motivates Asian American College Students to Help their Parents” considers the support four-year students can provide for parents. Employing the same trichotomous class design, it illustrates that most students express the importance of helping parents (i.e., a facet of filial piety). Yet, only students from more disadvantaged class backgrounds supply translation support and speak seriously about future provisions of financial support; both of which have implications for students’ stress and struggle in college. The third article “The Sibling Advantage: Asian American First Generation College Students and the Academic Support they Receive from Siblings” shows how some Asian American first gen four and two-year students benefit immensely from the academic support their older, college-educated siblings provide. Comparing their receipt of support to that of Black and white first gen four-year students and Asian American continuing gen four and two-year students, it reveals that race—more specifically immigration—and class interact to shape students’ receipt of sibling support. Together, these articles highlight the heterogeneity of family involvement for Asian American college students, demonstrating how students from different class backgrounds have experiences of both advantage and disadvantage.