Dissertation

Cultivating Chicanx/latinx Student Success through Parental Engagement in Higher Education: A Qualitative Study

Much of the literature related to the role of parents supports the importance of parental involvement during a student’s elementary and secondary educational placement. However, very little research follows through with this parent involvement support factor at the college and university level. Often, Chicanx/Latinx students enter an unfamiliar territory, left alone to navigate the system of higher education. This study looked into Chicanx/Latinx college students’ perceptions of their parents’ involvement and engagement during their college experience in order to understand ways that they contribute to Chicanx/Latinx college student’s retention, persistence and progress towards graduation. through my research, students shared what I developed as core concepts in cultivating Chicanx/Latinx student success. My core concept includes naming the untapped cultural and familial assets Chicanx/Latinx parents provide, which are not being utilized by both student and the institution. Value must be placed on the shared stories of these student participants. They revealed the following core concepts: 1. Consejos are untapped by institution and student, as the students describe the importance of consejos 2. Unrecognized value of what familias offer to students: parental support by any means necessary 3. Unexpressed gratitude and appreciation 4. Untapped potential of parents as partners, with the students expressing desire for their parents to belong. This study sought to develop an understanding of students’ perceptions of their parent’s engagement in higher education and found that they indeed have an integral role to play in Chicanx/Latinx student success. Recommendations are made to support Chicanx/Latinx parent programming rooted in culturally relevant efforts. Parents must be seen as partners, and institutions of higher education must begin to incorporate parent engagement early and develop pathways to engage the entire familia in the higher education experience. Institutional agents must begin to explicitly ask about Chicanx/Latinx student’s parents and their impact, through programming, policies, and long-term engagement using familial capital, assets, and a strengths-based approach.

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