Doctoral Dissertations

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education



Major Professor

Jeffery P. Aper

Committee Members

E. Grady Bogue, Lee Humphreys, Carol Kasworm


This descriptive study examined the characteristics of students enrolled in less-than one-year certificate programs taken for college credit. The investigation was performed using enrollment data from four University System of Georgia colleges. The remaining data was collected through surveying a group of 400 certificate students at Dalton College.

The demographic profile generated showed certificate students in the study to be predominantly female, Caucasian, receiving financial aid, attending school part-time, and working 30 hours or more per week. Approximately 29% had a GED, rather than a high school diploma. Over 28% answered affirmatively when queried about previous post-secondary experience, although there was a no response rate of 59%. More students were receiving the Georgia HOPE Scholarship than any other type of financial award.

Almost one fourth of the certificate students surveyed believed that certificate programs offered a good beginning to gain confidence in order to complete a longer degree program, while 84% believed they had the ability to finish a longer program. Eight-eight percent reported that they would feel better about themselves after successful program completion, regardless of their employment status. Although getting a job in a different field was the choice of 71% of those surveyed, participation in further education was anticipated by 46%.

Beginning in a program of less-than one year in length appears to be a nonthreatening starting place for students who might not otherwise have attended college.

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