Date of Conferral







Susan Marcus


Impoverished students face obstacles that influence academic achievement and motivation. These young people are disadvantaged by their circumstances and are at risk for missing opportunities that could prepare them for meaningful careers and improved quality of life. The purpose of this qualitative study was to gain a deeper understanding of academic motivation in academic scholarship students who attended disadvantaged schools. Social identity theory provided the theoretical framework for a narrative analysis of the experience of academic motivation, academic achievement, and social identity. Five female and 4 male college students were interviewed. The thematic analysis revealed 4 themes: motivated by overcoming challenges, school relationships that aided scholarship attainment, unconventional routes to scholarships, and social identities that motivated academic achievement. Structural analysis of academic motivation development revealed 4 key elements: challenge, support, motivation, and accomplishment. Participants reported experiencing academic and personal challenges, receiving support from their social groups, becoming motivated to overcome the challenge, and achieving an accomplishment during their motivational development. Recommendations for future research include exploring disadvantaged students’ understanding of “scholarship” and the scholarship process, as well as, misconceptions about college and the available resources to help finance school. The results of this study supply stakeholders, academic institutions, and community leaders with information that can provide the means to support disadvantaged students.