Author(s)

Leroy PurdieFollow

Date

5-2016

Department

School of Education

Degree

Doctor of Education (EdD)

Chair

John R. Duryea

Keywords

Business, For-profit, Nontraditional Student, Persistence

Disciplines

Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Higher Education | Online and Distance Education | Other Education

Abstract

This phenomenological study explored academic persistence for 10 nontraditional students pursuing business degrees at for-profit universities in southern Georgia and northern Virginia. The literature review provides a theoretical framework based on Tinto’s (1975) theory of persistence and Bandura’s (1993) self-efficacy theory. Data was collected through a demographic survey, timeline of significant events, in- depth survey, and a letter of advice. Data analysis included identifying significant statements, utilizing participant feedback to create structural and textural descriptions and ultimately describing the participant essences of their experiences. The decision to pursue a degree themes that emerged were career progression, family security, transferability, and convenience. The academic integration themes were engagement, personal relations, and encouragement. The social integration themes were positive student experiences, confidence building, and positive team interactions. Finally, the characteristics of persistent student themes were self-efficacy and faith.