Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Sociology

Degree Type

master of art


The purpose of this study was to determine some of the social and cultural influences on nontraditional students' decisions to seek higher education. The thesis of this project is that nontraditional students are reacting to changes in the occupational structure of the United States. The six propositions of social exchange theory developed by George Homans were used to guide the research. A questionnaire was distributed to the entire population of full-time nontraditional undergraduate students at a comprehensive university in the Southeast. A total of 430 students over the age of 25 responded to the questionnaire. Frequency distributions and crosstabulations were used to analyze the data. Results suggest that the emphasis placed on cultural values varies by social class. However, as social structures change, cultural values also change.


Education | Sociology