How Colombian low-income public college senior students describe their policy experiences regarding gaining access to higher education





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This study took place at a Colombian university that is located in the city of Tunja, which is 110 kilometers north of Bogota_. It is the university where I graduated ten years ago and earned my bachelor's degree. I interviewed five low-income, public college senior students about their experiences with policy regarding gaining access to higher education. I used the students' stories to develop a theory about the current state of higher education for low-income students in Colombia. I used grounded theory to create theory out of data. I used a qualitative analytical research approach because it gives voice to the interviewees, empowering them to share their experiences in their own words and with much greater depth. I combined this approach with document analysis, oral testimonies, and relics. In addition, I incorporated the autobiographical method into this research. I focused on events that occurred in my life and illustrate the federal policies regarding Colombian higher education access through my own experiences. The findings revealed that current students are basically tolerating the effects of the same policy issues I experienced ten years ago. Themes like equity, admission policies, numbers of seats available, financial aid, scholarships, and living costs related to my story and provided evidence that these policies have been affecting current low-income students the same way they affected me ten years ago. I suggest that the government can be a strategic provider, clear regulator and facilitator for providing equity, and improving the access, available seats, and enrollment for low-income students.

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