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Why go back to school? Investigating the motivations of student parents to pursue post-secondary education

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Title: Why go back to school? Investigating the motivations of student parents to pursue post-secondary education
Author: van Rhijn, Tricia; Lero, Donna S.; Burke, Taniesha
Department: Department of Family Relations and Applied Nutrition
Abstract: This study explored the factors that motivate student parents to pursue post-secondary education. Student parents at four Canadian universities (n=398) completed open-ended questions on their reasons for attending school in an online survey. Using Possible Selves Theory as a lens, we conducted a directed content analysis and found that student parents’ motivation to attend school has a strong future orientation. Primary motivators for engaging in post-secondary study included: to attain a valued job/career, higher education, and inspiration from family. Secondary motivators included: personal development, improvement in lifestyle and income, inspiration from relationships outside the family, the desire to be socially responsible, to overcome physical/mental challenges, and to develop a new hobby. The results indicate that student parents’ reasons for pursuing post-secondary education are varied and complex; it is therefore important that government and university policymakers are aware of the uniqueness of this population when making decisions on policies and supports.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10214/15934
Date: 2016-05-23
Rights: This is the peer reviewed version of the article, which has been published in final form at https://doi.org/10.1002/nha3.20135. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance with Wiley Terms and Conditions for Use of Self-Archived Versions.
Citation: van Rhijn, T., Lero, D. S., & Burke, T. (2016). Why go back to school? Investigating the motivations of student parents to pursue post-secondary education. New Horizons in Adult Education and Human Resource Development, 28(2), 14-26. https://doi.org/10.1002/nha3.20135


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