Community Colleges (CCs) provide access to higher education, but very small percentages of Latino students finish or transfer to 4-year institutions. The researchers will examine three NYC-area CCs with varying densities of Latino students, looking at both in-class and out-of-class settings, to better understand why and how institutions providing access to higher education for this population fail to realize their potential for this group of students. Social exchanges, inside and outside of the classroom, will also be examined in relation to gender and immigrant generation status. Participants will include a sample of 120 Latino students (ages 18–25), evenly distributed across campus, gender, and immigration status. Ethnographic observations of the campus will be conducted for each school, and classroom observations will be made for each participant. 36 in-depth student case studies will be completed, and faculty and staff will also be interviewed.
Latinos are the largest and fastest growing ethnic group in the U.S., but they are significantly underrepresented in higher education.