Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership


Community College Leadership

Committee Director

Christopher R. Glass

Committee Member

Mitchell R. Williams

Committee Member

Robert J. Lynch


For Latinx students, attaining a higher education is one the most important achievements they can pursue. According to Gándara and Moredechay (2017), Latinx students encounter many socio-economic struggles such as a lack of familial support and limited educational resources. In fact, many Latinx students come from low-income households, which further widens the minority education gap.

The Puente Project program aims to increase the number of Latinx student transfers from community colleges to four-year institutions thereby increasing the number of bachelor’s degrees earned by this underserved population of students. However, this program is not without its limitations. Surprisingly, the results of this research study revealed that there were no statistically significant differences in transfer rates between the sexes, Pell Grant status, and first-generation status of Latinx Puente Project participants at Sunnyside Community College (SCC) between the Fall of 2014 and Spring of 2018 semesters. The results of this study indicate that the Puente Project may not be addressing the right barriers or enough of the barriers that Latinx students face (e.g., other ‘gatekeeper’ courses, parental status, or other familial/financial obligations).

While the Puente Project does address certain barriers that Latinx students do experience and aids in their retention, the results from this research study show that the interventions in place to aid Puente participants in increasing their rate of transfer to four-year institutions were not successful—at least not during the time period that was examined at SCC. In order for the Puente Project program to be successful, some changes and/or additions to the program may be necessary such as incorporating transfer-level math support, the use of embedded tutoring or supplemental instructors, and desegregating first-year composition English classes and converting the program into a learning community to aid in engagement and self-efficacy for its participants. More research needs to be done on the factors that can positively affect transfer rates for Latinx students.


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