Exploring Educational Opportunity (EOP) Practices at a 4-year Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) in Supporting Latina Undergraduate Students Matriculating Directly from Secondary Schools

In 2013, only 16% of Latino students held a bachelor degree while the rate for White students was 24% (McGlynn, 2014). Thus, the disparity of Latino/a representation in higher education requires additional investigation. This study investigates support for first-generation Latina students when they attend four-year universities directly after completing high school. Set in a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), this qualitative study followed a semi-structured interview method. Six one-on-one interviews were conducted to identify the experiences of Latina students that supported their motivation to pursue higher education. The findings indicate that the Education Opportunity Program (EOP) supported their transition to a four-year environment, parents’ lack of knowledge of the college application process challenges the transition, and there is a need for more interaction between students and Latino/a faculty. Through the findings, the need for career guidance was discovered. Thus, further support is still needed to improve the rate of Latino/as pursuing advanced degrees.