Date of Conferral

2015

Degree

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)

School

Education

Advisor

Mario Castro

Abstract

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate why many Latino America students at an urban community college in the state of Maryland who were enrolled at least part-time and were U.S. citizens or permanent residents did not continue their education into the second semester. Guided by Tinto's model of student integration and student persistence, this study explored the reasons these students dropped-out using the students' words to describe barriers to success, factors that influenced their decisions not to return for their second semester, and what they believed could have made a difference in their decisions. Five Latino American first-generation community college students were selected for interview. The life history calendar was used, emerging themes were coded, and a peer reviewer added perspective and stimulated further inquiry. The findings reflected the following key themes that influence persistence: family responsibility and influence, processing the college steps, lack of confidence, paying for college through family members, reliable resources, interacting with staff employees, and creating a friendly and nurturing environment. The findings allowed the development of a curriculum plan project study entitled PODER that may help college leaders devise plans to improve student persistence from the first to second semester. The potential for social change from this study could steer educators to create programs beyond the study setting to increase persistence rates of Latino American college students. This issue was important not only for the educational growth of Latino American students but also for the economic growth of the nation's workforce.