Award Date

5-1-2012

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Department

Educational Leadership

First Committee Member

Edith Rusch

Second Committee Member

Sonya Horsford

Third Committee Member

Robert Ackerman

Fourth Committee Member

Anita Revilla

Number of Pages

177

Abstract

A review of the literature indicates that Latinos lag behind White and

African American students in higher education degree attainment. This educational gap is of concern because Latinos are the largest minority group in the United States, and the Latino population is expected to increase in the future. Higher education degree attainment for Latinos is vital because statistics show an undeniable relationship between degree attainment and income level. In order to ensure the economic well being of Latinos, it is important that Latinos persist through university degree programs. The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the experiences of "at risk" Latina first generation college graduates. The study explored the personal, institutional and environmental factors that contributed to their success. Phenomenology was utilized to capture the essence of their experiences. Data for this study came from the in-depth interviews of Latina participants who attended K-12 public schools prior to entering a university setting. The narrative data from the interviews were transcribed and analyzed to gain an understanding of the factors that influenced the success of a group of Latina students who pursued higher education degrees and earned at minimum a bachelor's degree. Through the exploration of the participants' lived experiences during their pursuit of higher education, the themes which emerge are directly related to the various types of capital and social assets that are embodied within the Community Cultural Wealth framework: aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistant. The findings suggest that the women's own desire for educational attainment, family expectations, and emotional support were key factors in their educational success. Through the exploration of the participants' lived experiences during their pursuit of higher education, the themes which emerge are directly related to the various types of capital and social assets that are embodied within the Community Cultural Wealth framework, such as aspirational, linguistic, familial, social, navigational, and resistant. The findings suggest that the women's own desire for educational attainment, family expectations, and emotional support were key factors in their educational success.

Keywords

Critical Race Theory; First-generation college students; Hispanic American college students Latinas

Disciplines

Education | Educational Leadership | Educational Sociology | Inequality and Stratification | Race and Ethnicity

Language

English