Date Approved


Embargo Period


Document Type


Degree Name

EdD Doctor of Education


Educational Services and Leadership


College of Education


Walpole, MaryBeth

Committee Member 1

Sung, Kenzo

Committee Member 2

Mateo, Lesley J.


Financial Aid, Latina, Latina/o Critical Race Theory, Narrative Inquiry


Hispanic Americans--Education (Higher); Student aid


Higher Education


Latina students face numerous barriers within the financial aid application process that impact the success rates of their higher education attainment. The financial aid application process is initiated through the completion of the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Unfortunately, the FAFSA, as it is currently written is not beneficial to students from low socioeconomic backgrounds, students of color, and first generation college students, due to the cultural and linguistic hegemony that is present with the FAFSA application (Kimble, 2012; Taylor, 2019). Such hegemonic dominance within the financial aid application process, perpetuates the systemic racism that is present within the financial aid industry (Delgado Bernal, 2002; Perez Huber, 2010; Perez Huber & Solorzano, 2015; Solorzano, 1998; Solorzano & Delgado Bernal, 2001; Valdes, 1996, 2005; Villalpando, 2004), thus impacting the higher education attainment rates of Latina students. For this study, Latinx Critical Race Theory (LatCrit) provided a lens through which to view the lived experiences and counter-stories that emerged from the narratives of the Latina participants and how those experiences influence their understanding of the financial aid process. The findings of this study support how the participants' experiences were influenced and impacted by racial inequalities.