Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Dr. Nicolae Nistor


Since the 1970s, the college enrollment of Latinx first generation students (FGS) has increased nationally and within the research site. In this vein, the purpose of this qualitative study was to gain an understanding regarding the actual academic and nonacademic experiences that prevent Latinx FGS from graduating community college. This qualitative study was framed by Ladson-Billings and Tate’s theory of critical race in education to explore what Latinx FGS identify as barriers in graduating from a community college while providing feedback on how college leadership can support them in graduating. By using a phenomenological tradition, participants used storytelling to define the actual experiences hindering them from graduating college so college leadership could gain awareness. I interviewed 10 individuals who self-identified as a Latinx FGS being of Puerto Rican, Dominican, or Mexican descent and were sophomores attending a community college. The interviews revealed that Latinx FGS may lack social and cultural knowledge capital before entering college, but with specific relevant information, communications in real-time opportunities, more accessibility to online services to mirror in-person on-campus activities, a culturally dedicated safe space, and guidance from culturally competent, sensitive, and responsive professionals to combat the fear of the unknown, they can persist academically and graduate. The positive social change implications of this study include Latinx FGS being able to earn college degrees at the same rate as their ethnic or non-FGS counterparts through access to customized resources, a race-conscious college culture, and holistic support provided by college leadership so they can graduate college.