Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work


School of Social Work

First Reader/Committee Chair

Shon, Herbert


Hispanics are the largest minority group in the United States, yet the retention and graduation rates among Hispanics continue to remain low. This study examined some of the barriers and social challenges that Hispanic First-Generation College Students experience. The main objectives addressed low retention rates, low graduation rates, discussed unique cultural issues, and looked at the most prevalent challenges that this population endures while trying to successfully achieve higher education.

A qualitative approach was utilized to gather data. A total of ten participants were recruited and placed in two focus groups. These focus groups were conducted virtually due to national COVID-19 restrictions.

The findings revealed that First Generation Hispanic College Students face multiple barriers when navigating college and university. There is a need for supportive services such as bilingual parent workshops, college readiness courses, financial aid workshops, mental health services, and more Hispanic representation in colleges.

Recommendations for mitigating these disparities going forward can include improved understanding and identification of the barriers that First Generation Hispanic college students encounter, and how implementation of supportive services at the middle school and high school levels can increase retention and graduation rates among First Generation Hispanic College Students.

Included in

Social Work Commons