Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Preferred Name

Christine Leaman

Date of Award

Spring 2015

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Education (MSEd)


Department of Learning, Technology and Leadership Education


Noorjehan Kelsey Brantmeier


Changes in the global economy, employer expectations, and cultural norms are causing a shift in the demographics of post-baccalaureate students. Out of necessity to support oneself in an increasingly demanding job market, female graduate student enrollment has been on the rise for a number of years. This, in combination with a general increase in the number of individuals enrolling in graduate degree programs while trying to balance the responsibility of raising children presents a growing problem for institutions of higher education. Graduate student parents are a population that requires additional and varying support services than those of the traditional graduate student. The unique challenges faced by this population can prove to be overwhelming at best, and this struggle can lead to attrition in many cases. There is a not only an absence of information regarding the best way in which to support graduate student parents, but some institutions seem to be largely unaware of the problem. James Madison University exhibits a complete lack of demographic information on its own graduate parent population, as well as a gap in an understanding of the ways in which these students could be better supported, thus reducing their risk of attrition. A mixed-methods research design that relies on survey questions addressing the experiences, perceptions, and unmet needs of graduate parents at JMU provides some of this preliminary information. Future research is needed to further qualify the services that could be provided to these students that would hold the most value for graduate parents, but survey results revealed a number of themes regarding the experiences, satisfaction, and needed support services within the population of JMU graduate student parents.