Date of Conferral



Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)




Mary Lou Morton


The low completion rates of Latina/o community college (CC) students continue to be a problem in the landscape of higher education both in California and across the United States. The purpose of this qualitative phenomenological research was to describe and better understand the lived experiences of Latina/o CC students and their perceptions of the role that academic self-confidence plays in their degree completion. Delgado and Stefancic’s critical race theory provided the conceptual framework that guided this study. The research questions were aimed at probing the experiences of CC Latina/o students to describe their perceptions of the potential role academic self-confidence may play in degree completion. The study included interviews of 6 Latina/o students who succeeded and graduated at the local college and a focus group with 4 current students at the same institution. Data were analyzed using the Colaizzi method of phenomenological interpretation that depends on rich, in-depth first-person interviews. Findings from this study included five overall themes that were found to positively influence the students’ perceptions of academic self-confidence and served to create a description of the phenomenon as it is defined by Latina/o CC students. The five themes that resulted from this study are (a) support, (b) failure, (c) familial and cultural alliance, (d) motivation to disempower stereotypes, and (e) intrinsic motivation and growth mindset. The anticipated positive change implications of this study are that a better understanding of the lived experiences of Latina/o students may contribute to planning for policies and procedures that could improve equity in the CC experience.