Latino youth who are undocumented and their pursuit of higher education: a qualitative study

The purpose of this study was to explore what has helped Latino youth who are undocumented in their pursuit and completion of higher education, i.e., a bachelor’s degree. This qualitative study included two sample groups, one Latino youth who were admitted and were attending college and two, being the Latino youth who have completed their bachelor’s degree. A total of ten participants participated in this study. The data were collected through semi-structured interviews which included open ended questions. The findings of this study revealed that participants were motivated to pursue higher education in order to improve their lifestyle, despite the barriers experienced such as being a first generation student and not having enough knowledge about college or how to apply. Findings also revealed a lack of support from high school and college staff especially in regards to college information. Participants identified families as an important support system that provided emotional, economic, and informational support. Participants recommended true need for additional resources in order to provide support and decrease the inequality gap. Social workers can advocate for policies for more protection for undocumented students.