Date of Award


Degree Name

Leadership Studies


College of Education and Professional Development

Type of Degree


Document Type


First Advisor

Dr. Dennis M. Anderson, Committee Chairperson

Second Advisor

Dr. Charles Bethel

Third Advisor

Dr. Edna Meisel


The pursuit of higher education is a goal that is embedded in secondary education and often correlated with the American dream. This study concentrated on the barriers that women with a felony conviction face when pursuing higher education after incarceration. Based on the identified barriers, current best practices for admission to higher education institutions and individual resources available for the ex-offender population were assessed. Using a questionnaire and interviews, a qualitative research approach helped identify the barriers that women with a felony conviction face when pursuing education and best practice solutions for institutions of higher education when working with the felony population. The study revealed inconsistencies and a lack of best practices for admission policies when institutions of higher education include a criminal background question on the admission application. The interview participants indicated multiple barriers that exist for women who are pursuing higher education.


Education, Higher – Appalachian Region.

Ex-convicts – Education (Higher) – Appalachian Region.

Women ex-convicts – Education (Higher) – Appalachian Region.

Universities and colleges – Admission – Social aspects.

Educational equalization.