Evaluating Latina Retention: The Negative Factors Affecting Latina Retention in Rural Colleges and Key Recommendations for Their Retention

Evaluating Latina Retention: The Negative Factors Affecting Latina Retention in Rural Colleges and Key Recommendations for Their Retention

Theresa Neimann (Shanghai Normal University, China)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5667-1.ch020
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This chapter explores issues and challenges Latinas face in remote-rural communities and identified key recommendations that are essential in order for Latinas to be successful in remote-rural community colleges. Ten Latina undergraduates who finished at least two terms of three credit-bearing class in a rural community college were the subjects of this qualitative study. The term Latina in this study refers to a female of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race. The participants named in this study are females regardless of how they self-identify ethnically who have ancestry from either of these countries.
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Evaluating Latina Rural College Experiences


Mexican-Americans are the largest Latin American subgroup (65%) in the United States and they are the least likely to attend college (Education Testing Service, 2007; Excelencia, 2016; Iturbide, Raffaelli & Gustavo, 2009). According to the 2010 census data, of the 16-24-year-old Latinos born in Mexico and migrated to the United States, 38.8% dropped out of high school (Munsch, 2011; National Center Education Statistics, 2010). According to the National Council of La Raza, an umbrella organization for Hispanic groups, only 10% of U.S. born Latina women complete four or more years of college, as compared with 13.9% of Black women and 22.3% of White women (National Council of La Raza, 2014). Among the nation’s Latinas, rural Latinas are the least likely to attend college (Arnold, Newman, Gaddy & Dean, 2005; Excelencia, 2015; Gloria & Castellanos, 2012; NCES, 2014).

In order to increase the retention and success rates of Latina rural community college students, community colleges in rural areas must make it possible for more Latinas to attend in order to have a positive higher education experience (Demi, Coleman-Jensen & Synder, 2010; Maltzan, 2006). Academicians need to understand what factors detract from the college experience for Latinas in rural community colleges. This paper explores the barriers that detract from Latina success and suggest recommendations to bring change that will foster Latina retention.


Barriers Preventing Latina Retention

White-Dominant Educational Narratives

Multiple barriers prevent the Hispanic/Latina population from attending rural community colleges. One of the barriers preventing the Latina population from attending rural community colleges arises from the White supremacy-hegemonic educational narratives used in American literature and history. These narratives place Latinas in a precarious position in American society (Bernal, Elenes, Godinez, & Villenas, 2006; Cantu, 2011). Gloria (1997), noted that these narratives essentially ignore Latino/a’s as a part of American history. Latino/a’s were, and still are, erased from popular American history by the major ideological narratives such as “Manifest Destiny”, “Melting Pot”, and the “Mexican Problem” (Arredondo, 2003; Bebout, 2011). For many Latino/as, their status is perceived as the perpetual foreigner, with no rights or limited rights to citizenship.

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