Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



First Advisor

Dr. Robyne Elder

Second Advisor

Dr. Kevin Winslow

Third Advisor

Dr. Frank Giuseffi


The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to explore the possible relationship between parental incarceration and the outcomes, frequency of participation, motivations, challenges, and supports of college students with incarcerated parents. The study was conducted at an unnamed academic institution with individuals enrolled in a four-year degree program. The present study utilized a questionnaire, grit survey, academic motivation assessment, focus group, and interview to gather the needed data. The six steps for thematic analysis were utilized for data analysis. In examining these potential relationships, the present study utilized collected quantitative data to examine whether statistically significant relationships were present. As the factors of motivations, challenges, and supports were collected from the perspectives of study participants, a qualitative approach was appropriate for exploring the needs of collegiate students, based on their responses to the open-ended questions. The information provided by participants allowed me to identify the difference between graduates and non-graduates with incarcerated parents and what is needed to assist collegiate students experiencing incarceration to complete a bachelor's degree. The results indicated that a key barrier for academic achievement among students with incarcerated parents is a lack of financial, physical, and emotional support. The participants continued to reiterate the need for increased support through various effective and helpful programs and highlighted the value of support systems, as they received strength and encouragement from family members, friends, and mentors to keep them in school amid financial and emotional struggles. They also expressed how joining sporting teams, school, and other organizations contributed to their positive performance at school. The present study will use the findings to create programs to assist students of incarcerated parents in completing at minimum a four-year degree.


Copyright 2022, Ysatis Ne’Cole Williams.

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