Motivation and persistence of college students who are parents compared to non-parent college students
Lovell, Elyse D'nn.
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The purpose of this quantitative comparative analysis study was to determine the factors that contribute to motivation and persistence among undergraduate college students who are parents compared to those students who are not parents. It is important that administrators, faculty, and support staffs know what undergraduate college student-parents report as factors which are contributions or hindrances to their motivation to enroll and persist in achieving degree attainment success when compared to students who are not parents. The results of this study can be used by administrators, faculty, and support staffs as they recruit students, enroll students, retain students, revise current programs, and create new programs. In this study, three hundred and twenty three students were administered a survey (designed from two existing surveys) distributed one week before the semester ended, spring, 2011; ninety four parents and two hundred and twenty nine non-parents responded to questions about five persistence factors (enrollment barriers, decision to continue attending college, classroom experiences, student services and attainment goals) and one factor of motivation. The difference between persistence and motivation is that persistence questions were more specific to academics, while motivation questions were both academic and personal (intrinsic). The results showed parental status predicted persistence to continue attending college, classroom experiences and perceptions of student services. Parents showed higher levels of persistence survey scores than non-parents to continue attending college, classroom experiences and student services. Differences in motivation were unclear. In addition to student-parent status, individual student characteristics of age, marital status, and gender showed significance for predicting enrollment, attainment and student services. Non-traditional age students had lower levels of survey response for barriers in enrollment. Married students had lower levels of survey response for the attainment of goals. Females showed higher levels of survey response for student services. This study concludes that persistence factors were different between parenthood, age, marital status, and gender while differences in motivation remain unclear when comparing student-parents and students who are not parents.