Narratives on College Access and Academic Undermatch: Understanding Latinx Students and Their Families

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When students are academically qualified to attend a four-year college or university but instead enroll at a community college, they are considered academically undermatched. Research suggests that Latinx students are more likely to academically undermatch than their peers yet they remain the least likely to complete an upward transfer to a university and earn a baccalaureate degree. The purpose of this study was to explore the enrollment decisions of, and familial influences on, Latinx students who were admitted to a university but who initially enrolled at a community college. Using community cultural wealth and funds of knowledge as theoretical frameworks, ... continued below

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Olivarez, Catherine Prieto August 2017.

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  • Olivarez, Catherine Prieto

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Description

When students are academically qualified to attend a four-year college or university but instead enroll at a community college, they are considered academically undermatched. Research suggests that Latinx students are more likely to academically undermatch than their peers yet they remain the least likely to complete an upward transfer to a university and earn a baccalaureate degree. The purpose of this study was to explore the enrollment decisions of, and familial influences on, Latinx students who were admitted to a university but who initially enrolled at a community college. Using community cultural wealth and funds of knowledge as theoretical frameworks, I examined the narratives of 13 Latinx students and the parents of five of those students. Nine student participants were female and four were male, ranging from 19 to 31 years old. Parent participants were four females and two males, ranging from 43 to 52 years old. Findings from this study are divided into two parts. Student findings revealed navigating the pathway to college was fraught with limited information, even though students acknowledged they had access to resources and their high school counselors and teachers helped in the college search process. However, students still did not feel that crucial information they wanted or needed was available. Parent findings uncovered how parental aspirations and perceptions of opportunities in the United States served as a foundation for helping students aspire to attend college. Based on these findings, higher education practitioners would do well to use inclusive frameworks, such as community cultural wealth, to create programs that address Latinx students and their families, including providing materials in Spanish. Through use of inclusive frameworks, research on Latinx student college choice continues to elevate the complexities and realities these students encounter. Additionally, policymakers should continue to reevaluate the shifting burden of costs for higher education from taxpayers to students as this impacts college choice and academic undermatch.

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  • August 2017

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  • Oct. 9, 2017, 11:44 a.m.

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Olivarez, Catherine Prieto. Narratives on College Access and Academic Undermatch: Understanding Latinx Students and Their Families, dissertation, August 2017; Denton, Texas. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1011882/: accessed August 19, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; .