Date of Degree


Degree Name

Ed.D. (Doctor of Education)


Department of Counseling and Higher Education (CAHE)


Kortegast, Carrie

Committee Members

Jaekel, Katy; Scott, Jamal


Upward Bound, College Choice, COVID-19, Case Study


This instrumental case study explored how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced post-secondary pathways and college choices of participants in an Upward Bound Program. In the aftermath of the pandemic, community college enrollment was projected to increase, instead two-year institutions experienced significant declines. Prevailing assumptions about college enrollment may not be accurate, and existing college decision models do not account for the effects of a worldwide pandemic. The study was guided by the Iloh model of college going decisions and trajectories, and the college-conocimiento framework. The findings suggested students’ academic engagement and mental health declined during the pandemic. This in turn impacted their resolve to attend college, and influenced the factors they considered when selecting a college. Additionally, the findings suggested students relied on Upward Bound as their primary postsecondary planning resource.


Northern Illinois University

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