Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Abraham S. Fischler College of Education


Karen D. Bowser

Committee Member

C. Jay Hertzog

Committee Member

Ronald J. Chenail


This applied dissertation was designed to help a specific Florida high school dropout prevention program better understand the factors that influence the postsecondary persistence rates of their scholarship recipients. The program administrators want to explore the scholarship recipients’ perceptions regarding the role of mentoring and student advocacy in his/her academic success or college persistence. To understand the scholarship recipients experience better, a mixed methods study was conducted with current program scholarship recipients to gain insight into the individual student’s perception of factors including mentoring and student advocacy that influenced student success and completion in college.

Information gained from the student perceptions will help program administrators develop additional interventions that promote continued student success and academic retention, persistence, and graduation. Perceptions reported by scholarship recipients regarding student success and persistence will provide the organization insight into the development of future program initiatives designed to increase the postsecondary success of the program participants. Additionally, this study will fill a gap in the research regarding the experiences and benefits of sustained mentoring on academic success and long-term poverty reduction.

The results of the study support that the Florida Mentoring Scholarship Program should consider implementing an organizational success strategy of providing student support services to all scholarship recipients the first semester of postsecondary education, as well as consider developing an ongoing evaluative process to determine which scholarship recipients would benefit from ongoing postsecondary student support services. FMSP should strengthen the organizational focus on college readiness in the high school program participants, specifically encouraging the students to enroll in advanced and Advanced Placement courses. Further, FMSP should consider the implementation of a mentor-training program that could augment the academic support and guidance currently provided by the student advocates. Finally, the study results suggest that Florida Mentoring Scholarship program should consider and develop success strategies that target the specific geographic, gender, racial, and ethnic differences and needs of the scholarship recipients.

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