Access and Opportunity for Latina/o Undocumented College Students: Familial and Institutional Support Factors

  • Patricia Pérez
  • James Rodríguez
Keywords: access, opportunity, undocumented


This article focused on the educational experiences of Latina/o undocumented college students attending a public Hispanic-Serving Institution. Familial and institutional factors that promote educational opportunities are explored. A total of 15 semi-structured interviews serve as the data source for this exploratory, qualitative study. Interview transcripts were coded into central themes within the broader categories of familial and institutional agent support and influences. Findings indicated that familial support factors included “non-traditional” forms of encouragement. Specifically, familial factors sorted into the themes of 1) listening and understanding; 2) goal- setting; and 3) motivation. Meanwhile, support factors from institutional agents were mixed in regard to effectively facilitating the college-going process. Recommendations for policy and practice are presented in light of the findings. This article contributes to the conversation regarding the education of Latinas/os by sharing their voice and using their experiences to promote greater access, opportunity, and success in higher education.