The psychosocial experiences of Latina first-generation college graduates who received financial and cultural capital support: a constructivist grounded theory




Tello, Angelica Maria

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Although higher education is now more accessible to students, universities are still struggling with retention and graduation rates of first-generation college students (FGCS) (Slaughter, 2009). In the research on FGCS, there is a lack of understanding of the intersection of identities experienced by specific FGCS populations. One of the fastest growing ethnic groups on college campuses are Latina FGCS. Understanding their experiences can help those working with these students and aid in increasing their college graduation rates. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to examine the experiences of Latina first-generation graduates who received financial and cultural capital support. Constructivist Grounded Theory was used to develop the Latina First-Generation College Graduates Psychosocial Support Model that was grounded in the participants' experiences. Twenty-five Latina first-generation college graduates shared experiences of invalidation and validation that occurred while they were in high school, college, and post-Bachelor's degree. The invalidations were adverse experiences that created challenges and barriers for the participants. However, participants also experienced sources of validation, such as campus involvement, relational support, and cultural influences, which aided in their college persistence and graduation. Implications for high school and college counselors are discussed, and recommendations for future research are also provided.


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college counseling, counseling, cultural capital, financial, First-generation college students, Latina