Latino high school graduates enroll into 4-year colleges at disproportionately lower rates compared to their White peers. The visual and performing arts have been documented for having a positive influence on academic achievement. The current study measured the influence of a visual and performing arts high school program and nine independent factors that might explain Latino 12th grade students' decision to apply to a 4-year college. A total of 160 Latino students from one visual and performing arts (VAPA) high school in an urban school district participated in this study. 40 students from each academy (dance, music, theater and visual arts) were included using purposive sampling. Glasser's (1998) Choice Theory and Hossler and Gallagher's (1987) College Choice model were used as theoretical frameworks. Data was collected from the students' completion of the high school version of the Factors Influencing Pursuit of Higher Education (FIPHE) Questionnaire (Harris, 1998). The FIPHE is a researcher-developed instrument designed to gather data on factors that could affect a person's decision to pursue higher education. The FIPHE consisted of 92 questions and measured the following variables: (a) family influence, (b) financial aid concerns, (c) glass ceiling, (d) peer influence, (e) preparation for college, (f) relative functionalism, (g) secondary school support, (h) self-appraisal and (i) sister influence. A Hierarchical Linear Regression revealed the best predictors on the likelihood of pursuing higher education were self-appraisal and peer influence. The glass ceiling effect and sister's influence were negative predictors. Correlation tests revealed self-appraisal and peers influence had the strongest correlation with the likelihood of applying to college. Based on one sample t-test, the mean score of 4.9 out of 10 revealed the visual and performing arts had an influence. Based on the findings, the researcher recommends that: (1) Teachers seek out opportunities to build Latino students' self-appraisal and increase peer interactions; (2) Hiring practices include teachers with a mindset for dispelling glass ceiling ideology; (3) Low-income schools provide opportunities in various art programs; (4) Urban school districts should utilize Title I funds to support art programs in low-income schools.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Dissertations (EdD) -- Educational leadership, administration and policy; Hispanic American high school students -- Case studies; Art schools

Date of Award


School Affiliation

Graduate School of Education and Psychology



Degree Type


Degree Name


Faculty Advisor

Hiatt-Michael, Diana B.;