Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2021

Document Type

Dissertation (799 registration)

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership


Graduate Studies

Committee Chair

Dr. Boyd Bradbury


American Indian, graduate school, persistence themes, barriers


American Indian students have the lowest college retention and graduation rates in the United States, facing a variety of barriers to completing their education. Studies have identified factors impacting the lower persistence of American Indian students; however, the achievement gap is not decreasing. To improve the knowledge of why American Indian students have the lowest percentage of advanced degree completion, an intimate examination of seven American Indian students’ educational experiences was completed. This phenomenological qualitative study examined the events that impacted American Indian students’ non-persistence and persistence in pursuing advanced degrees. By delving into the personal educational journeys of seven American Indians at varying stages of their educational experience, rich narratives were created. This study helped define the barriers that have discouraged American Indian students from persisting in higher education. In providing personal stories of American Indian student’s enrollment in graduate school and the barriers they face, this research detailed American Indian students’ journeys through higher education. Factors that impact American Indian students’ enrollment and persistence in graduate school were identified.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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