Contreras, F. (2009). Sin papeles y rompiendo barreras: Latino students and the challenges of persisting in college. Harvard Educational Review, 79(4), 610-632.

Undocumented Latino students in higher education represent a resilient, determined, and inspirational group of high achievers who persevere and serve as a model for success. Here, Frances Contreras presents a qualitative case study consisting of twenty semistructured, in-depth interviews with undocumented Latino students in an effort to help readers understand the experiences and challenges facing them in higher education in Washington State. Contreras’s research explores the navigational processes these students employ in pursuing higher education and fulfilling their educational aspirations. Her findings provide insight into the implementation of HB 1079—the Washington State DREAM Act—in multiple institutional contexts and make recommendations for national and state policy communities. Her findings also demonstrate the critical need for universities to examine their institutional practices and efforts to support these achievers who have already beaten tremendous odds by entering the halls of higher education.

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