Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (Ed.D.)


Educational Administration and Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Brett Taylor

Second Advisor

Dr. Rod Githens

First Committee Member

Dr. Fred Estes


Hmong Americans' postsecondary completion rates remain low when compared to other Asian ethnic groups. As the Hmong population continues to grow, so does the need for intervention to increase the total number of postsecondary graduates. Many Hmong Americans are first-generation college students and continue to face challenges and barriers that prevent them from being successful in higher education. “Forty-seven and a half percent of Hmong adults (25 years or older) reported having attended college, but not earning a degree” (National Commission on Asian American and Pacific Islander Research in Education, 2011). Without a college degree, Hmong Americans face limited resources and opportunities to advance in their careers, resulting in limited earning potential (Research Summary, n.d.). Without a college degree, career options are limited, and may result in low-wage jobs that perpetuate the poverty level of SEAAs. (“Overview of the Educational Challenges of SEAA - 2013,” n.d.) Asian Americans continue to be successful in degree completion rates, masking the struggles of sub-ethnic groups that immigrated to America in the late 1970s to early 1980s as they assimilate into America. To address the issue of low completion rates of Hmong Americans, targeted services will aid and support them through their academic journey.

Many Hmong Americans begin their journey in higher education at a community college. Community colleges have been providing education and skills training helping to fill the needs of high-demand industries. Community colleges have transformed millions of American lives paving the way to the middle class through middle-class careers (Holliefield-Hoyle & Hammons, 2015, pg. 29). Attrition rates of Hmong Americans remain a primary concern in postsecondary institutions. Primary causes of attrition include inadequate financial support, unsolidified academic decisions, and life interruptions (Bowers et al., 2019, pg. 2). As colleges strive to provide resources to alleviate some of these barriers, many students do not utilize these services (Bowers et al., 2019, pg.2).

The purpose of this study was to identify success strategies of Hmong Americans that completed their undergraduate degrees and beyond to provide information to current and future Hmong Americans as they pursue their degree. These strategies helped the participants as they discover new things while learning to balance school, work, children, and cultural obligations. Through a basic general qualitative study, the research identified the following themes: 1) First-Generation College Students; 2) Counseling; 3); Connection with Professors 4) Connection with colleagues; 5) Library; 6) Tutoring; 7) Personal growth. Much research is needed to continue the research into other successful measures Hmong Americans have used to complete their undergraduate degrees and beyond. This research contributes toward the growing research into successful strategies used by Hmong Americans and other students in America as the information gathered from this research will aid all postsecondary students.





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