Date of Paper

5-2014

Type of Paper

Clinical research paper

Degree Name

Master of Social Work (M.S.W.)

Department

Social Work

First Advisor

Jessica Toft

Abstract

Currently, there is an achievement gap in education between students of color and their white counterparts. While the larger picture of inequality is readily available, it does not explain why students of color graduate at lower rates. This purpose of the qualitative research study sought to understand the experiences and perceptions of low-income youth who are of color, on their transition into college. Semi-structured individual interviews were conducted with four youth of color who were currently enrolled in college and identified coming from a low-income background. The five major themes that emerged from the interviews were: 1) the youth’s motivation to pursue higher education, 2) preparation for continuing, 3) support the youth received, 4) demographics of the youths’ high school, and 5) the youth’s perceptions of why other students did not pursue higher education. Implications for the field of social work, such as changing legislation of NCLB to better serve youth of color from low-income backgrounds, are discussed. Future recommendations of including social aspects into college access programs are also discussed.

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