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Social Capital and Low-Income, First-Generation Latino Male College Students
AuthorValle, Daniel M.
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Low-income, first-generation students face numerous barriers to earn a college degree. Of these students, Latino male students have some of the lowest levels of college enrollment and persistence. This study used a phenomenological design to identify the perspectives of low-income, first-generation (LIFG) Latino male college students on how social capital affects their academic success. Previous research suggested that students are more likely to overcome some of the obstacles they face by establishing resourceful relationships on campus. Data were collected through in-person interviews and observations of ten LIFG Latino male college students. Personal interviews were conducted with study participants. In addition, observations between participants and mentors on campus were done. Findings revealed that positive relationships, on and off campus, were instrumental in the overall success of the participants. Additionally, the results also revealed ways in which cultural capital - be it navigating the institution, understanding of services provided, and finding academic support on campus - influence LIFG Latino males as they advance through college. The participants successfully described their resourceful relationships with their university peers, their instructors and non-academic staff on campus, their respective mentors or advisors, and their family members. In addition, the data suggest it is important for students to take advantage of any form of social capital on campus. Implications for campus administrators, faculty, and support staff are discussed. Lastly, recommendations for future studies are explored.