Document Type

Capstone Project (Open Access)

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


Social, Behavioral & Global Studies


Social and Behavioral Sciences

First Advisor

Yong Lao


As of 2021, very few Hispanic residents in the United States held a college degree in comparison to non-Hispanic residents. Research has shown that, particularly for Hispanic students, financial aid increases college persistence. Hispanic Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) submission rates rank among the lowest, preventing many Hispanic students from receiving financial assistance. This issue is most prevalent West Census Region (WCR), where there is the highest concentration of Hispanic residents. To understand what barriers may be preventing Hispanic submission in the WCR this Capstone used logistic regression models to analyze student-level data from the National Center for Education Statistic’s High School Longitudinal Study of 2009. Barriers were assessed regarding human capital, as its subtypes have been shown to greatly effect university-related behaviors. Results indicated that, for Hispanic students in the WCR, economic capital had no significant effect on submission but cultural and social capital in the form of parental values, parental aid discussion, and aid counseling had a significant effect. The effects of capital on submission differed between races/ethnicities, affirming the results of prior research studying the relationship between race/ethnicity, capital, and university-related behavior. These results suggest that FAFSA assistance should be centered around parental outreach and aid counseling within high schools, ensuring Hispanic students have access to trusted sources of aid information.