Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctorate of Education, Ed.D.


College of Education



First Advisor

Christopher Maddox, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Judy Shoemaker, Ed.D.

Third Advisor

Patricia Garcia, Ph.D.


Latino males are entering higher education at increasing rates, yet they are not graduating at the same rate as their peers. Latino males remain the smallest group to have a college degree, limiting opportunities for continuing education and obtaining gainful employment. The purpose of this study was to explore how Latino male university students perceive the effects of social engagement on degree completion. A hermeneutic, phenomenological approach was utilized enabling the study participants the opportunity to describe their experiences of the explored phenomenon and increase comprehension as to why they interpret their experiences in the manner that they do. Questionnaire and interview responses from 10 Latino male university students who have earned a university degree were reviewed and analyzed for qualitative data that indicated the motivational factors that led to degree completion among this group. Study results indicate that social engagement was vital in the development of a sense of belonging and for decisions of persistence to degree completion. All study participants noted the positive impact of involvement in student organizations, in particular, membership in a Latino-based fraternity, as fundamental to their academic success. The study findings may contribute to the existing body of literature, providing insight into potential policy changes and the development of strategies and programming that aid Latino male university students integrate into the campus community, improve retention, and ensure degree completion.

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Education Commons