Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Educational Leadership

First Advisor

Cherie Gaines

Second Advisor

Andrew Courtner

Third Advisor

Rebecca Burleson


Disadvantaged students (i.e., students characterized by first generation status, low socio-economic status, or racial minority) in the United States enrolled in college at higher rates but still faced a significant college graduation gap. Research has shown that a close, personal relationship with a mentor can increase the social capital of disadvantaged students in post-secondary education. The Tennessee Promise Program was a scholarship program for high school students, designed to remove the financial barriers while also supplying them with an adult mentor to guide them through the college process. In this qualitative study, the researcher aimed to investigate the experiences of Tennessee Promise Program mentees and mentors to uncover their perspectives on the mentoring relationship. Thirteen mentees and seven mentors completed the cross-sectional questionnaires that consisted of demographic, closed, and open-ended questions. The findings from this study revealed that mentees and mentors alike described their relationship as information-based and issues with connections. These findings revealed a lack of relationship between mentors and mentees in the Tennessee Promise Mentoring Program that suggest the Program was not increasing the social capital of the disadvantaged students in post-secondary education.


Mentoring, Tennessee Promise, Disadvantaged, Social capital