Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Barbara Lopez Avila


The U.S. Latino community is underrepresented among those with college degrees, and high college dropout rates among Latinos have contributed to that underrepresentation. The purpose of this qualitative case study was to explore why Latinos are at increased risk for dropping out of college compared to their White counterparts. Tinto's theory of student integration and the geometric model of student persistence and achievement were used to guide the study. Data were collected from 12 Latino students at risk for dropping out at a college in the northeastern United States who were enrolled in a degree program but were considering dropping out before completion. through semi-structured individual interviews and from documents that addressed retention efforts to increase students' persistence and degree completion at the study site. Analyses included manual coding, open coding, and computer-assisted coding with NVivo 11. Findings indicated several barriers to college completion: (a) financial difficulties, (b) familial responsibilities and financial support, and (c) lack of dropout prevention programs targeting Latino students. Results and recommendations were compiled as a white paper to distribute to school administrators and stakeholders. Findings may be used by administrators and stakeholders to increase Latino students' retention and graduation rates. The project recommendation was to implement a Latino support program in the northeastern U.S. colleges led by Latino mentors who were college graduates. The possible implications of this support program for Latino students are increased retention rates and opportunities to expand their social network with students going through similar struggles.

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