Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Coaxum, James

Committee Member 1

Sung, Kenzo

Committee Member 2

Perez, David


College Choice, Cultural Wealth, Education, Latino, Pentecostal, Religion


Christian college students; Hispanic American college students


Higher Education


This dissertation describes the experiences of Latino Pentecostal students of traditional college age with regard to their college decisions, along with the influence of Pentecostal social networks on Latinos' college choice. Much research has focused on Latino students' college choice processes but Latino Pentecostal students as a specific subgroup have received little attention. This dissertation provides a more nuanced approach to the college decisions of the increasing number of Latino Pentecostal students in the United States. Applying a phenomenological research design, I conducted semi-structured interviews in which participants described their Pentecostal social network's role in their college choice process. In contrast to the traditional Pentecostal anti-college attitude suggested by previous research, I found that students had substantial college aspirations and received strong community support for them, suggesting a paradigm shift among the younger generation. The study suggests that Latino Pentecostal students are acquiring socio-religious capital from their religious social networks and using it to achieve successful transitions into college. Moreover, students' desire to maintain participation in religious rituals results in a tendency for Latino Pentecostal students to choose colleges located close to their churches.