Means-ends decoupling implies that national policies and practices are disconnected from the state’s core goal of creating public welfare. Employing sociological institutionalism, this article aims to explore how means-ends decoupling at the state level affects Ukrainian students’ choice of university and study programme using semi-structured interviews with 65 full-time students from business studies, social work and professional education at one Ukrainian university. The findings reveal that, first, in addition to the state, the university also sustains means-ends decoupling. Second, means-ends decoupling at the state and university levels hinders the Ukrainian students from attaining their intrinsic and extrinsic motivations, such as personal development, professional preparation and employment. Consequently, the Ukrainian students’ choices entail means-ends decoupling at the individual level, the degree of which varies depending on the subject area of the programme, study cycle and individual factors.
- Student choice
- Means–ends decoupling
- Extrinsic and intrinsic motivations