The Samuel D. Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice | GSE | Rutgers

New Report Highlights Success Factors for Mexican American Students in Higher Education


Natalie Passov | | 848-932-0728

New Brunswick, N.J., May 22, 2024 – The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute of Leadership, Equity, and Justice (Proctor Institute) is proud to announce the release of its latest report, “Reframing College: Mexican American Students, Higher Education and Family Restorative Justice.” The report examines the impact of an early college program in San Luis, Arizona that prepares Mexican American, first-generation, college-going students for success in postsecondary education by reshaping their perspectives through family engagement and validation of Latinx scholarly identity. This report is part of a three-report research series focused on equity.

The report emphasizes the significance of early college access and advanced learning opportunities for students of color, particularly those who are Latinx. Family engagement facilitated by equity-minded staff members served as a key component in preparing the study participants for college. According to the author, Cynthia Trejo of the University of Arizona, “Writing this report showcases how dedicated equity-minded educators can prepare and empower students when they see them and their families as assets and college-bound.”

Cynthia added, “This research underscores the potential impact when every student is recognized for their potential and provided with the resources and encouragement needed to succeed in advanced learning pathways.”

 “This report highlights how critical it is for Latinx students to have access to resources and experiences that support their pursuit of higher education,” said Marybeth Gasman, Samuel DeWitt Proctor Endowed Chair and Distinguished Professor at Rutgers University.“Having teachers, counselors, and family members actively involved in student's futures will pave the way for future generations.” 

According to the report, family restorative justice is used as motivation for students through their educational journey. Through an understanding of the sacrifices their family members made for them, a culture of respect is fostered and students are motivated to work harder to attain a college education. 

Further, the study reveals that students worked to reframe their perspective on higher education by remembering the significance of the degree regardless of life's challenges. The San Luis Scholars’ remedy was surrounding themselves with peers and social groups that validated their ethnic identity. Additionally, college held significant weight for the scholars due to its role in cultural perpetuity. Having earned a degree as a first generation student was a milestone to be shared with future generations. 

The report also provides recommendations for schools and educators, and Latinx college students. Recommendations for schools include implementing programs and experiences that expand network and mentoring opportunities, examine biases, and engage family members. Recommendations for students include seeking social support and understanding that college can support meaningful work and a form of professional activism to contribute to their community.

Find the report here.


About the Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice 
The Samuel DeWitt Proctor Institute for Leadership, Equity, and Justice (Proctor Institute) is a national center that focuses on issues of leadership, equity, and justice within the context of higher education. It brings together researchers, practitioners, and community members to work toward the common goals of diversifying leadership, enhancing equity, and fostering justice for all. The Proctor Institute is located at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, in the Graduate School of Education and, houses the Rutgers Center for Minority Serving Institutions (CMSI). For more information about the Proctor Institute, please visit

Wednesday, May 22, 2024
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