Date of Award



© 2021 Gerald Maitre

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)



First Advisor

Michelle Collay

Second Advisor

Brianna Parsons

Third Advisor

Michael Rodriguez


Single parents who are public welfare recipients and seek to complete a college degree face many obstacles to persist and stay enrolled. Factors such as (a) being custodial parents of a child(ren), (b) juggling a job and family responsibilities, and (c) dealing with financial strains, to name a few, can create role overload which can be daunting (Weber & Tribe, 2019). Because these barriers are present, it is essential to know the motivational orientation of the single parent who has persisted and stay enrolled. Besides documenting the research on programming and policies, the present study explored what motivation students needed to be resilient and persist through their barriers. The purpose of this study was to gain a deeper understanding of the experiences of African American and Hispanic nontraditional single parents who (a) attend community colleges in an urban city, (b) have persisted into their second year and completed 30 credits, and (c) have a GPA of 3.0.

The following questions guided the study: 1.What is the motivational orientation of single parents who persist and stay enrolled through one year of a community college degree program? 2. What type of program interactions have single parents reported that have helped them persist and remain enrolled. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with eight single-parent CUNY EDGE students enrolled in Urban Community College (UCC) (pseudonym) and documented motivational orientations and the lived experiences of single-parent students who persisted and stayed enrolled in a community college. The interview prompts focused on what the participants believed helped motivate them to persist and stay enrolled and the barriers they overcame.

The majority of the participants in this study shared similar perceptions of the need for self-sacrifice. They identified the barriers as challenges in their relationships, living conditions, school culture, and lack of finances and support systems. Participants were motivated to overcome those barriers so they could improve their economic status and provide for their children. The findings suggested the need to further develop and continue policies and programs to support single-mother African American and Latina students.


Ed.D. Dissertation