Degree Date


Document Type

Dissertation - Public Access

Degree Name

Ed.D. Doctor of Education

Academic Discipline

Higher Education Leadership

First Advisor

Dr. Chabau

Second Advisor

Dr. Goux


The purpose of this qualitative study was to bring awareness to the issue of English learners (ELs) being unprepared for college and to study the beliefs and perceptions of educators regarding the factors that contribute to the creation of an achievement gap between EL students and traditional students. The study involved an analysis of trends in the perceptions of school counselors, teachers, and administrators regarding EL students being ready to attend college. Data were collected from nine participants from three public high schools in Pinellas County using Zoom and email interviews and then analyzed. Four main themes emerged from the analysis of the data: (a) opportunities, (b) access to higher education, (c) school initiatives, and (d) supporting ELs. Participants expressed similar views regarding EL students being unsupported in school and in the transition from high school to higher education institutions. More professional development and appropriate support are needed to close the academic gap.