Degree Name

EdD (Doctor of Education)


Educational Leadership

Date of Award

May 1999


This research focused on the motivational orientations of students attending community colleges in western North Carolina. The purpose of the study was to develop a profile of students with disabilities in degree, diploma, or certificate programs, to determine their motivations for enrolling, and compare the results to students without disabilities at the same colleges. Five community colleges were randomly selected from the colleges in the western counties of North Carolina. A stratified random sample of students, both with and without disabilities, was selected. Each student was mailed a copy of the Educational Participation Scale (EPS) modified to collect demographic data. A follow-up reminder was mailed at two-week and four-week intervals. Four hundred sixty-eight questionnaires were distributed. One hundred ninety-eight responses were received for an overall return rate of 42.3%. The results indicated that, among the group of students with disabilities, there was a higher proportion who were female. These students were older, yet less likely to have children in the home and work full-time, as compared to their nondisabled peers. Students with disabilities scored higher on four of the EPS factors; Social Contact, Educational Preparation, Social Stimulation, and Cognitive Interest. These students appear motivated to participate by the opportunity to meet new people and find social stimulation. They also were more likely than their non-disabled counterparts to seek a remedy for past educational deficiencies and satisfy their intellectual curiosities. These results suggest that the main reasons why students with disabilities enroll in community colleges are social and academic concerns. Community colleges need to be sensitive to the unique needs of students with disabilities and design programs and services that emphasize the continuing development of these students.

Document Type

Dissertation - unrestricted