Date of Award

Spring 2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Higher Education Policy and Student Affairs

Committee Chairperson

Orkideh Mohajeri, Ph.D.

Committee Member

James Tweedy, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Matthew Kruger-Ross, Ed.D.

Committee Member

Jacqueline Hodes, Ed.D.


This thesis addresses the need for support, other than financial, that students from low socioeconomic (SES) backgrounds require in institutions of higher education in order to succeed/thrive. More specifically, I look at how intentional relationships, community, and peers aid the student in their higher education journey and personal development. I used a review of published literature to establish and contextualize the need for additional support for this population; additional support in the form of an intervention like peer mentorship relationships and curated events supporting a sense-of-belonging. In this thesis, I propose a peer mentorship program to help support low SES students through the duration of their higher education experience. This program will utilize structured meetings with their assigned peer mentor and casual contact from other peers with similar experiences. The team leading this intervention needs to be collaborative, diverse, and adaptable while the leader needs to have a transformative, effective, and participative style. I propose an evaluation and assessment practice that is passive, such as creative reflections by the participants and video responses to prompts. This is important to the Student Affairs profession because students from low SES background are more likely to not complete their education. Many are afforded additional money compared to middle or high SES background students, but that does not address the struggles or challenges that they face during their tenure in higher education.