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12048 - Socio, Cultural, and Institutional Barriers Latino Immigrant Students face when attending post-secondary education in Kentucky

According to the U.S. Census Bureau (2010), Hispanics reached 50.5 million. Perhaps no other ethnic group has experienced such significant changes in the history of U.S. education as compared to this particular population. By 2050, the U.S. Hispanic population is projected to reach 132.8 million, or about 30% of the nation’s total. In general, as the population changes, institutions, communities, and society undergo significant impact.

From a socio-cultural perspective, we will explore how the perspectives of Latino immigrant students on discriminatory practices are reconfigured as they cross barriers to transition into a new educational culture (college). To understand the connections between the individual, the community, and the institutions, the study used three perspectives: the subjects’ personal thoughts and experiences (micro level); the context of their community background and current environment (middle range level); and the impact of institutional governance (policies and practice) that influence students’ efforts to attend higher education (middle range and macro level). These factors are considered in the context of exploring the participants’ reality (emic) versus the universal beliefs set up by the dominant culture (etic).

We will present a study that demonstrates how sociological research (used to create a comprehensive portrait of a target community and its needs) can take on a practical dimension by being applied to concrete interventions directed at eliminating social and educational barriers faced by immigrant populations.

Author: Guerra Perez, Gioconda (Indiana University Southeast, Ud States of Am / USA)

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