Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)

First Advisor

Ray E. Bower

Second Advisor

Sue Williams

Third Advisor

Houston Thompson

Scholarship Domain(s)

Scholarship of Discovery


Non-traditional college students now comprise an ever increasing portion of the overall number of college students but little is known about the factors that motivate one to pursue higher education. The purpose of this study was to explore the motivating factors, both extrinsic and intrinsic, that lead U.S. workers to pursue higher education. This research was conducted using 200 students of Robert Morris University and the data were collected using a survey instrument that measures the extent to which various factors influenced one’s motivation to pursue higher education. Analysis of the data revealed that overall the most important extrinsic factor rated was “to increase my job opportunities”, and the most important intrinsic factor was “to advance my personal growth”. Additional analysis also revealed no main effect of gender though some interaction, a significant correlation between the survey items and age, and a main effect of ethnicity of participant and item rated.


Ed.D. dissertation completed in 2011 for Olivet Nazarene University.