Collaborative Research: Florida IT Graduation Attainment Pathways (Flit-GAP) Grant

Collaborative Research: Florida IT Graduation Attainment Pathways (Flit-GAP) .


  • This project will contribute to the national need for well-educated scientists, mathematicians, engineers, and technicians by supporting the retention and graduation of high-achieving, low-income students with demonstrated financial need at Florida International University (FIU), University of Central Florida (UCF) and the University of South Florida (USF). Over its 5-year duration, this project will provide scholarships to 150 students who are pursuing degrees in Computer Science, Information Technology, Computer Engineering, and Cybersecurity. Undergraduate students will receive up to two-years of scholarship support and graduate students will receive up to two-years of scholarship support. The project’s focus is on (1) creating a hybrid (physical-virtual) learning community that spans the three institutions, and (2) offering professional pathway experiences (research, internship, entrepreneurship) to each of its scholars, reflecting the scholar’s interest to pursue graduate studies, work for industry/government, or work for a small company/start own business, upon graduation. The project will inform efforts to increase persistence and graduation of low-income students in the computing fields, addressing a national priority, and offering professional pathway opportunities to each scholar that will provide them with comprehensive educational experiences that will help them to identify (or verify) the desired professional pathway that they can pursue upon graduation. The project has three research goals. First is to investigate the factors that impact low-income and underrepresented students’ perception of the value and cost of future pathways including graduate school. Second is to study the impact of the Flit-GAP hybrid learning community and planned programming on students’ belonging, persistence, and pathways. Third is to determine the enacted nature of the hybrid learning community for formative improvement and translating to other contexts. The knowledge generation component will involve three qualitative and quantitative components in parallel for a mixed methods convergent and holistic triangulation design, with primary and complementary methods to emphasize both generalizability and authenticity of context. First, a primarily qualitative interview study investigates Flit-GAP students' experiential learning experiences and perceptions of future pathways. Second, a primarily quantitative longitudinal cohort study investigates paired Flit-GAP and non-Flit-GAP students to look for significant differences in persistence, graduation, and future pathway perceptions. Third, a primarily ethnographic study observes the many planned interactions in the hybrid virtual/in-person cross institutional learning community and examines the nuanced context that supports the Flit-GAP outcomes.This award reflects NSF's statutory mission and has been deemed worthy of support through evaluation using the Foundation's intellectual merit and broader impacts review criteria.

date/time interval

  • July 15, 2021 - June 30, 2026

sponsor award ID

  • 2130398