Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Educational Foundations & Leadership

Committee Director

Christopher Glass

Committee Member

Wendy Scott

Committee Member

Dennis Gregory


The purpose of this qualitative dissertation was to provide insight as to the experiences of Latino/a students at community colleges preparing to transfer as compared with those from Latino/a students who had already transferred. The Latino/a population is one of the fastest growing minority populations in the United States yet despite the growth experienced by this population in the United States, particularly in states such as California and Texas, accessing equitable higher education opportunities and achieving educational success have both been a tremendous challenge to this culture (Perez & Ceja, 2010). Eight Latino/a students preparing for transfer from two different community colleges were interviewed twice based on two semi-structured protocols. Eight Latino/a transfer students from two different universities were also interviewed with these protocols, producing a total of thirty-two interviews. The transcriptions from both phases and groups of students were then coded following the methodology of Moustakas (1994) and compared to a persistence framework (Swail, Redd, & Perna, 2003). This framework was altered to reflect new emerging themes and the Latino/a students’ stories and quotations. The findings produced many themes which matched the cognitive, institutional, and social forces of the Swail et al. (2003) framework but four new themes emerged from the interviews that were not associated with previous research. These themes including belonging, civic commitments, cultural identity intersections, and mentor influences will prove to be an important part of the understanding of Latino/a transfer issues for scholars, administrators, and students of higher education.


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