Date of Paper/Work


Type of Paper/Work

Doctor of Nursing Practice Project

Degree Name

Doctor of Nursing Practice



First Advisor

Susan Hageness


Doctor of Nursing Practice


College students face many challenges within the classroom as a key component of their growth. However, a background of poverty, housing, and/or food insecurity places higher education students at risk for course failure, attrition, and delayed or non-achievement of career goals. The Institute for Healthcare Improvement (McPherson et al, 2021) reports more students from disadvantaged backgrounds are entering post-secondary healthcare education programs, but this increase is not reflected in completion rates. Previous studies have shown financial hardships and negative academic outcomes can be overcome through mentoring. To determine the effectiveness of faculty mentoring for students from poverty, mentors who navigated from poverty and into nursing were matched with self-enrolled students who receive Pell grant funding. Pre-surveys were administered to gauge the student’s perceived levels of psycho-economic factors: going to classes, sleep, physical activity, proper nutrition, connection, centering, and financial concerns. Then they met with their mentors, who helped them develop strategies to succeed in courses and address these areas. The work was intended to increase course success and negate course failures and attrition. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the project was terminated before completion. Some of the data gathered from the students during the self-selection process indicated the scope of the project was too narrow, and a financial qualifier may not be warranted. Instead, future projects should look at more factors than financial aid, such as previous academic progress, other educational inequity sources, and student psycho-social concerns to decrease course failure and attrition.