Parental and Familial Factors Among Latino/a Youths’ Successful Matriculation into Postsecondary Education


  • Sarah P. Maxwell University of Texas at Dallas



Latinos, higher education, parental involvement, homework, grades, policy


Extant research focuses on the “educational attainment gap,” documenting the lack of parity among Latino youth and other high school graduates in college matriculation. This study reversed that question, and asked instead, what factors, and specifically what parental or family-related factors, contribute to Latino/a youth enrolling in four-year post-secondary institutions where future earnings tend to be higher than two-year colleges. Data from the Texas Higher Education Opportunity Project (THEOP, 2004) were analyzed to identify parental contributors to successful matriculation into post-secondary education. Findings indicate that parents attending college was one of the most important indicators of Latino/a enrollment in either a two- or four-year college or university. Also significant, and potentially critical in social welfare policy, was rewarding students for grades. Parents helping with and checking homework were not helpful in youths’ progression to postsecondary education.

Author Biography

Sarah P. Maxwell, University of Texas at Dallas

Associate Professor, Public Affairs and Social Policy