• Barriers to Postsecondary Education for Western New York Rural High School Students

      Mulcahy, Collin (State University of New York at Fredonia, 2019-05)
      Rural high school students in Western New York are faced with numerous challenges when deciding to enroll in postsecondary education. Rural students are faced with limited support, both inside and outside of school. Research has shown that faced with these barriers, rural students are less likely to enroll in higher education than are urban students. The purpose of this study was to the needs of rural high school students as well as to identify the supports in addressing their perceived lack of self-efficacy for their educational abilities in postsecondary education. This qualitative case study analyzed the viewpoints of three high school guidance counselors who provide crucial college admissions assistance to high school students in Western New York. The results of the study illustrated that rural high school students need further support in addressing their perceived lack of efficacy when deciding whether or not to pursue a college education after graduating from high school. Furthermore, many rural students and their parents/guardians are not informed about the costs of higher education. Positive perceptions of postsecondary education were identified as a motivator that helps students overcome the identified challenges in higher education. Higher education institutions can better aid rural students by addressing the challenges they face when making the decision to enroll in postsecondary education.