Against all odds: Success stories of Latino students who survived the educational pipeline

Manuel Emilio Rosa, Florida International University


The purpose of this interview study was to explore the experiences of Latino students, from their perspectives, as they journeyed through the educational pipeline, particularly the part focusing on the transfer experience from a 2-year college to a 4-year institution. This was accomplished by conducting in-depth interviews with 17 self-identified Latino men and women. All of the participants had attended Florida International University for at least 1 semester and had transferred from Miami Dade College. The participants varied in age, generational status, and cultural identity. The participants were asked to reflect on the external and internal influences that lead them to the 4-year institution. Tinto's (1993) model of student departure theory provided the theoretical framework for data collection and analysis. Based on the coding of the interviews, numerous themes emerged, including the role of the family, the impact of early education, the experiences of being Latino in Miami, the decisions to choose a college, the experience at the 2-year institution, the experience with the transfer process, and the obstacles and strategies the participants used for overcoming obstacles. These themes were furthered developed to determine which influences were most important for a successful journey through the educational pipeline. The study found that viewing the pipeline via the students' perspectives juxtaposed with Tinto's (1993) model of student departure gave greater insight into the experiences of a population of students who have been underrepresented in higher education. The findings of this case study indicate that the transfer process for Latinos attending a Hispanic Serving Institution such as Florida International University, situated in a majority-minority city, is complex, with participants having to rely on peers and significant others for pertinent information and support. Several factors, including the importance of positive support networks and increased confidence nurtured by the 2-year institution, influenced the students' transfer to a 4-year institution. For professionals in the field, the findings of this study may lead to a broader understanding of the experiences of Latino students in the pipeline and, more importantly, assist college administrators and faculty in successfully guiding a population through a 4-year institution who first came via a 2-year institution.

Subject Area

Community college education|Educational sociology|Higher education

Recommended Citation

Rosa, Manuel Emilio, "Against all odds: Success stories of Latino students who survived the educational pipeline" (2009). ProQuest ETD Collection for FIU. AAI3377925.