Date of Award

Fall 11-5-2020

Document Type

Dissertation - University of Massachusetts Global access only

Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Julie Hadden

Second Advisor

Doug DeVore

Third Advisor

Patrick Ainsworth


Purpose: The purpose of this qualitative study was to identify and describe obstacles for obtaining a 4-year college degree as perceived by male military veterans. In addition, it was the purpose to identify and describe strategies to overcome obstacles for obtaining a 4-year college degree as perceived by male military veterans. Lastly, it was the purpose to identify and describe motivating factors that male military veterans perceive that helped them obtain a college degree.

Methodology: This generic qualitative study captured data from male veteran students who had successfully completed a 4-year degree by identifying the strategies, obstacles, and motivating factors for obtaining a college degree as perceived by male veterans. A sample size of 12 male student veterans who obtained a college degree from a 4-year college between the years 2015 through 2020 from the University of Phoenix, University of Maryland Global Campus, or Saint Martin’s University in Pierce or Thurston counties in Washington State.

Findings: Examination of generic qualitative methods data from male veteran student postsecondary education experience participating in this study indicated that exclusion, lack of transition preparedness, and balancing college responsibilities along with family and job responsibilities were the most difficult obstacles faced by male student veterans in obtaining their 4-year degree. Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation factors were identified as critical in male student veterans overcoming obstacles to obtaining their college degree.

Conclusion: There were four conclusions drawn from this study based on the data. The results of this study support the conclusion that reveals that for a male military veteran college student to overcome the obstacles to the successful completion of a college degree, he must follow a transition journey.

Recommendation: The researcher recommends that the results of this study be used to continue to identify obstacles, strategies, and motivating factors that veterans use to obtain their 4-year degree.