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Persistence of Latino students in community colleges : an empowerment model addressing acculturative stress


College student persistence has been a concern of researchers and practitioners since the early 1960s. Traditional models have addressed the need for students to be integrated into the academic and social domains of the college campus. Recently, critical theorists and researchers have been questioning the relevance of the traditional models for students of color. The development of student empowerment through the establishment of student-initiated retention projects and the support of institutional agents has been proposed as a more meaningful goal to increase the persistence of students of color. Ethnic student organizations have also been shown to be important in giving students of color a sense of belonging. While acculturative stress has been shown to be a factor in the well-being of Latino students, it has not been considered as a contributor to persistence decisions. This study used mixed methods to collect data from surveys and interviews of Latino community college students. Analysis of this data showed that persistence is negatively correlated to acculturative stress. Additionally, certain acculturation strategies play a role in the persistence decisions of students. Both traditional and emerging models of persistence are compared in order to propose a new model which includes consideration of acculturative stress and student empowerment

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