Publication Date


DOI (Digital Object Identifier)



Leadership and Higher Education


Doctor of Education (Ed.D)

Dissertation Chair

Adriana Ruiz Alvarado, Ph.D.

Committee Members

Matthew A. Witenstein, Ph.D.

Nirmla Flores, Ed.D.


Nicaraguan, Nicaraguan-American, Identity, Sense of Belonging


Educational Leadership | Higher Education


Nicaraguan-American students in U.S. higher education research are not disaggregated from other Central American students and are more often than not lumped together with all “Hispanic” or “Latino/a” students. Conventional studies of immigrant education also tend to treat “Hispanics” or “Latinos/as” as a homogenous group. A few studies do disaggregate “Hispanics” or “Latinos/as” but limit their analysis to large subgroups such as Mexicans (e.g., Aguirre, 1993; Getz, 1997; Hurtado, 1995; San Miguel, 2001; Torres, 1991; Trujillo, 1998; Valencia, 1991).

Nicaraguans are a population that is distinct from Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and other Central and South American groups. According to Pew Research (2015), Nicaraguans settle in various locations around the U.S. that offer different degree of tolerance, group support and social capital. The Nicaraguan population in the U.S. has nearly doubled, growing from 250,000 in 1990 to 381,000 in 2013 (Pew Research, 2015). The population of immigrants from Nicaraguans living in the U.S. have also grown by 35% up from 164,000 in 1990 to 222,000 in 2013 (Pew Research, 2015). Sixty percent of Nicaraguans in the United States were born in Nicaragua, and Nicaraguan-Americans have higher levels of education than other U.S. Hispanic/Latinas/os but lower levels than the U.S. population overall (Pew Research, 2015).

This qualitative study examined the college experience of six Nicaraguan-American students to better understand their unique challenges, experiences, and needs.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


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