Document Type

Dissertation

Publication Date

11-15-2005

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine and gain a deeper understanding of Latino College students' sub-cultures and how their cultural integration can affect their retention and completion of a baccalaureate degree. Also, this study sought to understand the cultural factors that influenced student retention. The participants were given a survey to complete for demographic information, and then were interviewed to capture each of their stories and experiences.

Twenty participants were involved in the study. All of the participants were self-identified as Latinos and came from several different, four-year, residential universities. There were nine men and eleven women. Of the twenty participants, five were self-identified as Cuban,five were Mexican,five were Puerto Rican, and five were South American.

Coding was used to analyze the data. After the coding was completed,the researcher isolated recurring themes, grouping and categorizing responses to discover commonalities and differences of certain phenomena in the participants' words. As a result of the analysis, several themes were developed. These themes included: Latino perceptions of cultural differences among subgroups, factors influencing college attainment,and barriers related to educational attainment. Additionally,the responses from the participants tended to support the Nontraditional Student Attrition model on retention, the Bicultural Orientation Model on cultural awareness, and the Ethnic Identity Development model.

The participants identified general areas on how Latinos could become successful in higher education as well as what educational institutions could do to enhance the Latino attainment of a college education. Additionally, the findings in this research indicated that there is no simple answer to retention for Latino students. The factors related to cultural integration, retention, and successful completion are complex. There are more questions that need to be answered to fully understand the issues related to Latino students and their success in our educational system.

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