José Padín

Date of Award

Spring 5-28-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Sociology



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 196 pages)


Persistence, Hispanic American community college students, Academic achievement -- Economic aspects, Academic achievement -- Sex differences




Over the last forty years, the U.S. community college system has expanded, allowing disadvantaged groups greater access to higher education. With that expansion, a body of research has emerged examining community college students' educational outcomes. However, the research is limited in understanding the academic persistence of low-income students and community college student in particular. The purpose of this comparative, qualitative study is to explore some of the unanswered questions about how low income white and Latino students' experience academic persistence similarly and differently and understand how gender influences the challenges students may face during college.

This study draws from interviews of 22 (11 White/11 Latino/a) low-income community college students at a rural, Hispanic-Serving Institution (HSI) in the West. All students share similar challenges because of their class constraints, but Latino/a students in particular face challenges of racism and discrimination that carried over into their college careers. Faculty and family are the key sources of support for all students, which mediate some of the challenges. Variation is seen between the experiences of males and females, as traditional gender roles are reinforced and maintained in the family. This study offers insights into how structural inequality creates barriers for students from their perspective and gives recommendations for practitioners on how to mediate some of these challenges and increase student persistence.

Persistent Identifier

Included in

Sociology Commons