Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

Janice Kelly

Second Supervisor

Bil Leipold


The purpose of this mixed method study was to discover how active and enrolled nontraditional college students (NTSs), who are generally described as being over 24 years of age, defined persistence and success in an accelerated degree-completion program at a northeast liberal arts college. Additionally, this study sought the students’ experiences of the institution’s specific accelerated degree programs (ADP) and how it addressed the barriers the NTSs encountered. The methodology for this mixed method study involved data collection through a survey of 48 descriptive questions with opportunities for additional comments from the participants through 10 open-ended questions. The quantitative analysis was conducted with SPSS. The qualitative data received from the open-ended questions were analyzed with NVivo software, and the data received as comments were coded into smaller categories utilizing NVivo codes. The findings from the open-ended questions resulted in the themes, which emerged from the data. This study exposed how and why the accelerated degree-completion format is ideal for the nontraditional student. The students’ perspectives and experiences of the ADP at the study site reflected their satisfaction and progress toward degree completion while balancing contrasting responsibilities. By understanding the needs and motivation of NTSs and how an accelerated degree-completion program can help them finish their degree, colleges and universities could attract, retain, and graduate self-motivated adult learners who are seeking degree completion.

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