School of Education


Doctor of Education (EdD)


Veronica Sims


cademic Involvement, Advising, Childcare, Obstacles, Prsistence, Single-Parents


Curriculum and Social Inquiry | Education | Educational Assessment, Evaluation, and Research | Educational Psychology | Other Education


The purpose of this qualitative case study is an exploratory study to examine what contributes to the failure of the persistence of non-residential single-parents pursuing a college degree. The participants of this study included ten non-residential single-parent students between the ages of 21 and 50. The site of the interviews was in the Community Assistance Agency located in central Virginia. The theoretical framework guiding this study includes both the Student Integration Model Theory by Vincent Tinto (1975) and the Human Capital Theory by Theodore Schultz (1961). This framework provides a connection that explains the obstacles that exist for non-residential single-parents pursuing a college degree, as well as identifies possible solutions that address the issues involved in the pursuit of a college degree for these parents. The following research questions guided this study: What factors contribute to the failure of a single-parent to persist in higher education? How does academic involvement facilitate persistence in single-parent students? How does social involvement impact persistence to obtain a college degree in single-parent students? Data collection included a participant demographic profile, one-on-one interviews, and a focus group session. The data analysis process was presented in five phases, which included compiling all collected data, disassembling of data, reassembling data, interpretation of coded data, and themes were created. Five themes emerged from the coded data including family responsibilities, financial issues, academic involvement, self-improvement, and social involvement on campus.