Latina Women: Perceptions of the Factors Leading to a Four-Year Degree Completion

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Kompare, Patricia Ann
Parham, Carol
ABSTRACT Title of dissertation: LATINA WOMEN: PERCEPTIONS OF FACTORS LEADING TO A FOUR-YEAR DEGREE COMPLETION Patricia Ann Kompare, Doctor of Education, 2014 Dissertation directed by: Professor Carol S. Parham Department of Leadership and Policy Examining the perception of factors that contribute to Latinas completing a college degree will allow for better understanding of this underrepresented population in higher education. While data show that a growing number of Latinas are enrolling in higher education in the United States, the number of Latinas obtaining college degrees is considerably lower when compared with their non-Latina counterparts. The purpose of this qualitative narrative inquiry was to examine Latina college graduates' perceptions of the factors leading to their completion of a four-year college degree. Using autobiographical narrative inquiry and Latino Critical Race Theory (LatCrit), four Latina college graduates from a Mid-Atlantic region university were interviewed. The LatCrit framework identified six forms of cultural capital that contribute to cultural wealth. This study examined the perceptions, factors, and attitudes that enable Latinas to complete a bachelor's degree. The study further examined what steps these Latina graduates take to persist in college and obtain their degree, how they perceive what they do, and what their beliefs were regarding the contribution of Latino cultural capital to increasing academic success.