Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Ph.D.

School

Public Policy and Administration

Advisor

Joyce Haines

Abstract

Latino college enrollment rates in South Carolina do not reflect the overall increase in the Latino population in the state, which suggests that schools, colleges, and universities may be unprepared to serve the unique needs of Latino students. Consequently, Latino students are less likely to pursue opportunities in higher education than their non-Latino counterparts, which raises significant public policy concerns about equity and the potential economic contributions of the Latino communities. The purpose of this narrative policy analysis (NPA), based upon critical race theory, was to explore the perceptions of Latino students, parents, and advocates related to opportunities in pursuing education after high school in Greenville County, SC. Criterion and snowball sampling identified 15 individuals from whom interview data were acquired. Participants included 7 Latino students, 3 of their parents, and 5 advocates of Latino student attainment of college education. Secondary data consisted of higher education related legislation, policy documents, and reports. Data were inductively coded and analyzed using Roe's NPA procedure. These findings suggest that, at least according to these 15 participants, multiple barriers to college enrollment exist, including cultural expectations and unfamiliarity with the college application and financial aid processes. This study could encourage policy makers to consider perspectives of critical race theory as they create policies and support culturally relevant programs and financial aid guidance to Latino parents, students, and high school counselors. Such programs would lead to positive social change by promoting higher educational achievement, which is essential for the profitable employment of Latinos in the private and public sectors in South Carolina.