AbstractsEducation Research & Administration

Strangers in the Academy:Retention of Latino Non-Traditional Students and College Culture

by Andrew C. Sund

Institution: University of Illinois – Chicago
Year: 2015
Keywords: Latino College students
Record ID: 2062129
Full text PDF: http://hdl.handle.net/10027/19331


This work is a study of how Latino non-traditional students interpret and give meaning to their withdrawal experiences from a higher education institution. To examine this phenomenon, I used a qualitative method, which included a focus on a unique institution with a mission to serve Latino non-traditional students, a student satisfaction survey, and interviews with 31 former students. These were divided into 21 non-graduates and 10 graduates. The analysis used a Cultural Studies approach with additional theoretical grounding from Gramsci and Bourdieu. The study finds that Latino non-traditional students interpret their experiences as working in culturally contested spaces. Students give meaning to these experiences in complex and fluid ways, which in many cases, lead to decisions to withdraw. This reinforces and reproduces social systems that limit access to higher education to non-traditional populations.