The Role of Aspirational Capital on the Success of Latinx Graduate Students: A Narrative Inquiry

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D)


Higher Edu and Learning Technology

Date of Award

Fall 2022


At the request of the author or degree granting institution, this graduate work is not available to view or purchase until 2025 July 31. The purpose of this research was to investigate the role of aspirational capital and the factors influencing it on the success of Latinx graduate students. The main research question that this study sought to answer is: How do Latinx graduate students at a Texas university utilize aspirational capital to achieve their educational and career goals? This study attempted to answer research question using a qualitative research design, more specifically a narrative inquiry. Data were collected at a Texas university, classified as a medium-sized public state as well as a Hispanic-serving institution academic institution. The study targeted Latinx graduate students (both master’s and doctoral students) at this university. The sample was selected using purposive sampling, which is very common in qualitative research. The sample consisted of three Latinx graduate students (two master’s and one doctoral). Data were collected through pre-interview questionnaire inquiring about the demographic and experience background of the participants, as well as through two individual interviews and one focus group interview. Collected data from individual and focus group interviews were transcribed and analyzed using coding and thematic analysis. Three main themes emerged from thematic analysis as follows: the role of Latinx family, the role of faculty, and the role of career goals and networking. These factors were found to play a significant role in influencing the aspirational capital of Latinx graduate students which, in turn, helped them stay the course and promote their educational and career goals. This research sought to fill a gap in the literature on the lived experiences of Latinx graduate students in American higher education. It offered an asset-based perspective on how a sample of Latinx graduate students at Texas Prime University (TPU) navigated graduate school and advanced their aspirational attainment. Understanding how these students used aspirational capital and the contextual factors that empowered and sustained their aspirations to pursue and complete their graduate studies provides insights into how high education policymakers, faculty, and administration can support Latinx students seeking graduate school to successfully complete their graduate degree and achieve their career goals.


Dimitra Smith

Subject Categories

Education | Higher Education