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Title:Perceptions of college and career readiness among rural high school seniors
Author(s):Rockey, Marci M.
Director of Research:Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Zamani-Gallaher, Eboni M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Hood, Denice Ward; Trent, William; Welton, Anjalé
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):rural students
college access
community colleges
college and career readiness
Abstract:Rural students are the least likely to enroll in college immediately following high school graduation (National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 2016; Smith, Beaulieu, & Seraphine, 1995). From 2000 to 2015, the gap in bachelor’s degree attainment between rural and urban populations grew to 14 percentage points (U. S. Department of Agriculture, 2017). Rural students that do access higher education enroll in public institutions at higher rates than their urban and suburban counterparts with many of them relying on community colleges as a pathway to the baccalaureate (Byun, Meece, & Agger, 2017; Hu, 2003). College readiness has been identified as a leading cause of inequality in college access (Arnold, Lu, & Armstrong, 2012). This dissertation study explored the influence of a rural community context on perceptions of college and career readiness among graduating high school seniors. A phenomenological approach that incorporated a case study design was conducted and bound to one rural, public PK-12 Midwestern school district. This study identified the district’s community college as an asset toward the development of college and career readiness for students with varying aspirations. Furthermore, this study revealed the ways in which the community college established familiarity with students and was perceived as consistent with rural students’ values and interests. These findings suggest that community colleges can be critical assets toward filling gaps in opportunity that exist in rural contexts for the development of college and career readiness. Implications for theory and research include disrupting deficit frameworks of rural students and community colleges. Within the realm of policy and practice, equitable funding and the establishment of purposeful partnerships are identified as critical to supporting economic and educational opportunities for rural students.
Issue Date:2019-04-10
Rights Information:Copyright 2019 Marci Rockey
Date Available in IDEALS:2019-08-23
Date Deposited:2019-05

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