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Why Go to College? A Mixed Methods Multiphase Study of Latino Students in a Northeast State

Jessica Blanco-Busam, Johnson & Wales University

Abstract

Latinos across the country drop out of high school at higher rates and attain college degrees at lower rates than their peers (National Center for Education Statistics [NCES], 2015b, 2015c). Consequently, they face socioeconomic struggles as adults (NCES, 2016). Understanding and supporting Latino college enrollment may improve educational and socioeconomic outcomes for Latinos. ^ The research questions were: 1. How does a mixed methods multiphase study provide an enhanced understanding of Latino college enrollment motivation? (MM) a. How do Latino students describe their motivation to enroll in college? (QL). b. How important do Latino students believe the following variables are in motivating them to go to college: family, school, people, opportunities and benefits, and achievement goals? (QN). c. What is the relationship between Latino motivation to enroll in college and the following demographic variables: age, gender, ethnicity, generation status, family household composition, home neighborhood, income, parent/guardian level of education, and type of high school attended? (QN). d. How do educators describe Latino motivation to enroll in college? (QL). e. How do educators interpret, explain, and extend Phase II survey findings about Latino college enrollment motivation? (QL). f. How do Latino students interpret, explain, and extend Phase II survey findings about Latino college enrollment motivation? (QL). ^ Phase I explored motivation through dyadic interviews with Latino college students (N=6). Phase I data informed the development of a Phase II questionnaire administered to Latino college students ( N=120). Phase III comprised key informant interviews with educators (N=3). Consenting Phase II participants (n=3) completed reflective questionnaires during Phase IV. Qualitative data were analyzed using Boyatzis’ (1998) thematic analysis framework. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive and inferential statistics. ^ Qualitative analyses revealed five motivation themes: parents, school, teachers, opportunities/benefits, and that schools can do more. Quantitative analyses revealed significant differences in motivation and the following demographic variables: age, gender, family household composition, income, and parent/guardian level of education. Opportunities/benefits was the most important motivation variable reported (M=4.42, SD=.50). ^ Results from this study may provide educational leaders with a richer understanding of Latino college enrollment motivation in order to inform educational practice and policy, and improve Latino achievement.^

Subject Area

Educational leadership|Education|Hispanic American studies|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Blanco-Busam, Jessica, "Why Go to College? A Mixed Methods Multiphase Study of Latino Students in a Northeast State" (2017). Dissertation & Theses Collection. AAI10276530.
http://scholarsarchive.jwu.edu/dissertations/AAI10276530