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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

A case study of undocumented students transition to higher education in Massachusetts
by Ortega More, Jorge Enrique, Ed.D., University of Phoenix, 2014, 195; 3648301
Abstract (Summary)

The purpose of this qualitative case study was to investigate the transition to higher education for undocumented immigrant students as part of the social investment in human capital. Each year, approximately 65,000 undocumented students in the United States graduate from public schools and only a low percentage pursue higher education. The study conducted in Massachusetts presents evidence of social transformation as participants were also affiliated with SIM (Student Immigrant Movement), to advocate for higher education opportunities for undocumented students, and change social perceptions of undocumented population. The participants’ experiences are analyzed using social theories of transmission and transformation along with human capital theory. Data were analyzed using NVivo9 software and multiple readings of the interview transcripts, with guiding research question, how did the immigration status play a role in the pursuit of access to higher education? The analysis in this study is focused on the investment in human capital through education, considering that the individual and social return ought to be greater. The data gathered from the experiences of 20 formerly undocumented students of Latin American descent in this qualitative case study showed that possibilities of changing immigrant status, like the proposed DREAM Act, influenced the motivation to continue education beyond high school. The major themes among the participants’ descriptions of their educational experiences as students were related to (a) immigrant status, (b) motivation to continue their postsecondary education, (c) support they received to continue with their education, (d) social return on their educational investment, and (e) their plans for the future. Recommendations for leaders and policy makers are presented, and suggestions for further research are indicated.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Hettinger, William
School: University of Phoenix
School Location: United States -- Arizona
Source: DAI-A 76/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Educational sociology, Educational leadership, Hispanic American studies
Keywords: Demography, Immigrant students, International education, Social structure, Transient students, Urban planning
Publication Number: 3648301
ISBN: 978-1-321-43869-7
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