AN EXAMINATION OF FACTORS INFLUENCING FIRST-GENERATION LATINX STUDENTS IN SOUTH TEXAS: BASED ON TINTO’S PERSISTENCE THEORY.
This qualitative, phenomenological study examined the lived experiences of first generation Latinx community college students who shared common experiences that have influenced their persistence in the pursuit of educational attainment. It is essential to understand the process of navigating community college for first-generation Latinx students because it is key to their success. Using Tinto's (2002b) persistence theory as a guiding framework and a narrative the investigation, this study was successful in identifying the lived experiences and ways in which the first-generation Latinx students can persist in a particular community college by utilizing resources and a lack of assets to navigate and succeed towards college completion. Data collection included a Likert scaled survey and open-ended questions designed to garner information that provides an understanding of the lived experiences of 51 participants. The research design participants shared their unique expertise and insight into how they conceptualized their college experience as first-generation Latinx. This study indicates that first-generation Latinx community college students are more likely to persist towards college completion if their financial, socioeconomic situation, and support systems are conducive to learning. Findings indicated that through personal persistence and perseverance, first generation Latinx community college students could overcome barriers such as; financial hardship or social and cultural factors that may hinder student progress towards college completion. The study will potentially enable policymakers, schools, and non-governmental organizations to make decisions that would better help first-generation Latinx students to graduate by utilizing the tools provided.