Second-generation immigrant graduate students' persistence toward graduation: Factors affecting their ability to complete a program of study



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The demand for more knowledgeable employees has created a renewed focus in the United States to produce more postgraduate degreed individuals. Researchers have noted that a master’s degree could become the new bachelor’s degree as employers are requiring more advanced skills and abilities (Wendler et al., 2010). While there are several researchers (Collie et al., 2017; Deming & Dynarski, 2009; Lee et al., 2013) who have studied the persistence of undergraduate students, few researchers (e.g., Harde & Hackett, 2015) have completed a systematic research of graduate student supports. Graduate students have encountered numerous obstacles that have impeded their ability to complete their degree programs, less is known about additional obstacles immigrant students have faced when pursuing a graduate degree. Terrazas-Carrillo et al., (2017) found that “graduate student attrition has been referred to as the hidden crisis in higher education” (p. 61). Some of the issues that graduate students faced included lack of employer support (Wyland et al., 2015), lack of family support (Strom & Savage, 2014), and lack of university personnel supports (Okahana et al., 2018; O’Keeffe, 2013). The Completion and Attrition in STEM Master’s Programs: Pilot Study Findings survey (Council of Graduate Schools, 2017) was used and adapted for the purposes of this research.



immigrant second-generation immigrant persistence higher education