Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Linda Hickmon Evans


The purpose of the research study was to examine if students with financial barriers were able to obtain and complete internships in the arts, entertainment, or media industry. The study was quantitative (non-experimental) in nature and used descriptive statistics as an analytical tool to evaluate student perceptions of the financial barriers to internships in the arts, entertainment, and the media industry—research that has been minimally investigated. The study took place at a 4-year, higher education institute. The survey instrument was geared to junior- or senior-year college students in the fine arts, music, theater, performing arts, dance, television, film, news, and weather broadcasting majors. The survey included student demographics for gender, race, and socio-economic status; identification of majors/minors; if an internship was planned or completed; if the internship was paid or unpaid, and perceptions of whether an internship helps or hinders students’ job attainment post-graduation. The study’s measurements of income was limited. A more in-depth look at student finances would yield more robust results. The empirical evidence reflects that students’ perceived financial hardship was a hindrance to obtaining an unpaid internship, and they felt the internship experience was important to obtaining a job in the industry. In addition, the study identified inconsistencies in opportunities and possible barriers to opportunity. More research is recommended to study the hypothesis that financial hardship creates problems for students considering enrolling in unpaid internships in the industry and could negatively affect job attainment in the field.

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