Document Type



Doctor of Education


Educational Practice

Date of Defense


Graduate Advisor

Shawn Woodhouse


Shawn Woodhouse

Christiane Hubbard Jackson

Jennifer Simms


This study examined the effect of student loan debt on alumni’s willingness and ability to donate to their alma mater, including other identity-based motivating factors associated with an alumnus’ decision whether or not to donate. Participants of this study were recent (2015-2020) graduates of a doctoral program in the healthcare field in the Midwest, and were purposefully selected to answer questions regarding their income, loan debt, decision to give in monetary or non-monetary ways, and financial literacy education/financial preparedness. Data were gathered from virtual interviews that were transcribed and coded for emergent themes. The findings revealed that the majority of the participants did not donate to their alma mater and the most frequently cited reasons for not donating were high student loan debt, low disposable income, poor experience at their alma mater, and no longer feeling connected to their alma mater. The authors of this study also explored whether lack of financial literacy education at the study institution correlated to alumni’s lack of financial knowledge, financial preparedness, and high amounts of student loan debt.