Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Education (Ph.D)


Administrative and Instructional Leadership

First Advisor

Anthony Annunziato

Second Advisor

Stephen Kotok

Third Advisor

Ceceilia Parnther


Sixty six years after Brown v. Board of Education’s (1954), disparities in educational opportunity and outcomes continue to be a major civil rights issue that threatens the well-being of our society (Chetty et al,., 2018; Farmer-Hinton, 2008a). Despite the often-explored systemic barriers and oppressive forces, many do enroll in college and persist (Harper et al., 2018). This research applied the frameworks of Critical Race Theory (CRT) and Yosso’s Community Cultural Wealth Model (CCW) to explore the barriers low-income Black and Latinx students face in accessing higher education and examine what these students might have in the way of personal assets that would explain their enrollment and intent to persist (Bryan et al., 2020; Holland, 2017; Solórzano & Yosso, 2001; Yosso, 2005). Data was collected through semistructured interviews with six low-income Black and Latinx students who shared stories about their precollege and college experiences. The interviews revealed that these students have support system with their families, peers, communities and educational institutions that foster their community cultural wealth and empower them to successfully navigate structural forces and gain entry into higher education. The findings from this research suggest that educational settings must employ culturally responsive approaches that reject deficit models and utilize students’ cultural assets.