Veronica M. Bohorquez (M.A. ’19): International Educational Development

Title:
Measuring the Impact of Career Services for Latinx Full Time Students towards College Graduation

Abstract:
The opportunity to obtain a degree in higher education in the United States is pertinent to professional mobility and prosperous economic development (Latino et al., 2018). Currently, the Latinx population in the United States is the fastest growing minority with 58 million in the United States (Flores, 2017). However, the Latinx demographic is the largest ethnic minority with the lowest rate of college completion, only 16.4% of Hispanics have earned a Bachelor’s degree or higher (U.S. Census Bureau, 2016). The disparate graduation rates amongst major populations in the United States can lead to a labor force unfit to maintain a healthy economy and weaken national development. Higher education participation alone expands the opportunity for individuals, including Latinx, first generation and other underrepresented groups to advance their socioeconomic status and thus create a balance for societal equality (Nuñez & Sansone, 2016). Previous research has identified determiners of predicting college completion, including quality of secondary schooling and curricula (Nuñez & Kim, 2011). However, little work has been done to investigate linkages between nonacademic resources and Latinx college completion. Therefore, this paper will utilize the social cognitive career theory framework to uncover fundamentals between the role of career services and Latinx student usage. Since the role of career services at undergraduate institutions are to assist in professional development and career navigation (Lent, Brown, & Hackett, 1994) – this paper will refer to SCCT models which focus on cognitive variables including beliefs of self-efficacy, outcome expectations, personal goals, and environmental support. Sources will include evaluating survey responses from participants whom have graduated, and descriptive statistics on private and public institutions in the United States addressing retention, graduation, and enrollment rates. Using a mixed methods approach, the paper will evaluate institutional reports and feedback from personnel in the field of career services, to help depict the climate between how Latinx students manage challenges and adopt to college resources to succeed. It is with our efforts that this data can provide insight on how career services and outreach can be improved to institute new talent and growth to close the gap on Latinx college graduation.