Paper Type

Doctoral Dissertation


College of Education and Human Services

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Educational Leadership (EdD)


Leadership, School Counseling & Sport Management

NACO controlled Corporate Body

University of North Florida. Department of Leadership, School Counseling & Sports Management

First Advisor

Dr. Francis Godwyll

Second Advisor

Dr. Jerry Johnson

Third Advisor

Dr. Chris Janson

Fourth Advisor

Dr. Jennifer Stuber

Department Chair

Dr. Chris Janson

College Dean

Dr. Marsha Lupi


The success of The Jacksonville Commitment Scholars Program is well documented. These scholars are retained at a much higher rate and the six year graduation rate of the first two cohorts was higher than the general body. They are all students whose families have minimal financial resources and were eligible for the free or reduced lunch program during their high school years. They were subsequently eligible for the Pell Grant upon college entry demonstrating significant financial need. Many of these students were first-generation students. They have been successful but the specifics of how they collectively found such success was unknown. Although the program was a common element among all the students, this collective case study was intended to clarify the extent to which the students attribute their success to their experience in the scholars program, to identify challenges they faced during their college years, and to identify supports that helped them persist to graduation. Five themes emerged from the data. These themes were the scholarship and staff of The Jacksonville Commitment, the campus fit and faculty constructs of the theory of integration, ambition, adult guides, and the concept of anonymity vs. familiarity.