Puerto Rico has been under influence and colonial rule by the United States since the Spanish-American War of 1898. This has led the island to have partial and limited control over the affairs inside it. The passing of Hurricane Maria on September 20th of 2017 exposed problems even further. Puerto Rico remains under the control of a Financial Oversight and Management Board since the passing of the PROMESA act (The Puerto Rico Oversight, Management, and Economic Stability Act) signed by President Barack Obama in 2016. This had forced Puerto Rico to make drastic cuts to its public services. One of the main services was has been its public university, The University of Puerto Rico. This study provides a critical analysis of the reality of college students staying in Puerto Rico and continuing their studies in the UPR. Ten interviews have been completed. These semi-structured qualitative interviews provided themes that can be studied to create and inspire further research and eventually influence policies that can better the quality of life of these students. The data points to mental health issues, limited opportunities in research and internships, post-hurricane experience, structural problems to the university (physical and bureaucratic), amongst others. There are also signs of resilience and community support. Analysis of the themes through the transcription and data coding have provided insight to steps that can be taken at UCF’s Puerto Rico Research Hub that can extend to Central Florida and the island itself.

Thesis Completion




Thesis Chair/Advisor

Rivera, Fernando


Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)


College of Sciences





Access Status

Open Access

Release Date


Included in

Sociology Commons