“What support systems exist for “first-generation students in Ghana's higher education?”

Jacob Oppong NKANSAH*, Yusuf Ikbal OLDAC, Abdul Wali KHAN

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review


Given the expanding number of First-Generation Students (FGS) and the social, economic, and civil ramifications of their inequitable struggles with higher education, investigating the influence of support systems on FGS in higher education is vital, especially in Africa. This phenomenological study examined FGS's available and accessible support in Ghanaian higher education using social and cultural capital and ecological theories. There were two focus group discussions with eighteen FGS and in-person interviews with two institutional heads. According to the findings, FGS's only form of accessible support is intermittent support from parents, siblings, teachers, and neighbours. The higher education institutions and government have ineffective, limited, and competitive available support for FGS, which exacerbates the challenges in their higher education journey. The research proposes that FGS, their families, ministry personnel, and other charity organisations may work together to build a supporting network for FGS throughout their academic careers. Instead of providing general support programs for all students, we advocate that governments and organizational systems in higher education institutions should make structural changes and provide targeted support for FGS.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100824
JournalSocial Sciences and Humanities Open
Early online date14 Feb 2024
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 The Authors


  • First-generation students
  • Higher education
  • Support
  • Africa
  • Ghana


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