What works: factors influencing community college Hispanic female academic achievement and persistence to graduation
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The purpose of this study was to further investigate Dr. Ruth Hamilton Romano's (1999) research that identified factors contributing to Hispanic female student retention and graduation. This dissertation studied predominately Hispanic females from a community college located in south Texas to ascertain factors that positively contributed to retention and college graduation. Current student persistence research has focused on why Hispanic students leave college, but this work focuses on the factors that support Hispanics obtaining degrees. Previous research identified six major factors that contributed significantly to student success and graduation. Those factors include academic integration, student integration, institutional commitment, goal commitment, support by significant others, and campus-based aid. The research questions utilized in this study were based out of these six factors. The study queried 229 Hispanic women who graduated in the 2004-2005 academic year. Utilizing a multi-method research approach, both quantitative and qualitative research was used. Research data were gathered through electronic and paper surveys along with focus group and individual interviews. The results of Romano's (1999) study revealed that the two most important factors identified by the Hispanic women were goal commitment and the support of significant others. The results of this study showed that goal commitment and financial aid were the two most important factors. Support by significant others was the third most important factor reported by the women. A new factor emerged from the research that is worthy of future research. Hispanic mothers reported that a driving force for their own academic success and graduation was the need for them to serve as positive role models for their children's educational futures. The Latinas desired to demonstrate through their achievement that educational success was possible for their children.