PeerForward Boosts Persistence at Broward College
PeerForward’s new College model is showing great success at Broward College, a dynamic two-year community college in South Florida. Over three years, PeerForward has trained more than 150 Peer Leaders, students who mentor fellow students to stay the course in higher education.
In the first two years of PeerForward’s pilot program at Broward College, our trained Peer Leaders have significantly moved the needle on student persistence. The more than 1,000 mentees served by Peer Leaders to date have a 71% higher college completion rate compared to all students. Fall-to-fall retention is 35% greater for mentees served by Peer Leaders.
The number of college credits completed in the first year of college, as well as persistence in the first year, are key indicators of a student’s likelihood of eventually earning a degree, according to the Community College Research Center.
PeerForward trains Peer Leaders in fundamentals of community leadership and peer-to-peer outreach, as well as the key actions students can take to improve their chances of earning a degree. PeerForward is proud to be a part of Broward College’s multifaceted effort to increase student retention and completion rates through peer-to-peer mentorship. AmeriCorps supports the Peer Leaders so they can perform this critical work, providing federal funds for monthly living allowances, scholarships, SNAP assistance, and student loan forbearance. PeerForward in turn partners with BetterHelp and The Peer Mentoring and Leadership program at Broward College to support students’ well-being and leadership development.
Broward College’s PeerForward program supports students who are identified as at risk of not persisting in their education. One Peer Leader is matched with up to fifteen mentees, primarily based on their educational Pathway at Broward (Pathways include STEM, Health Sciences, Business, and ACHD). Peer Leaders leverage PeerForward’s Reporting App to provide tailored interventions for mentees. Throughout the mentorship process, Broward College and PeerForward staff provide coaching, skills development, resource sharing, and supervision.
Beyond committing over 30,000 hours of their time to one-on-one mentorship in the 2020-21 year, Broward College’s Peer Leaders have been leveraging their influence to make an impact in the broader community: Peer Leaders put in 589 hours of community service, such as by volunteering at the campuses’ food and hygiene product distribution drives, and the Central Campus’ new Seahawk Marketplace. They also spent 5,476 hours running financial aid campaigns, registration labs, and program recruitment.
The Peer Mentoring and Leadership program aims to build on its early success by doubling in size. Broward plans to increase the number of Peer Leaders from 52 to 100 and the number of active mentees from 350 to 700. By expanding outreach efforts, the number of Broward College students impacted by the program’s mentorship and outreach will double from 2,000 to 4,000.
Broward College plays an important role in serving groups typically underrepresented in higher education: nearly half of the college’s students will be the first in their family to graduate college, and the majority of students identify as Black or Latinx. A Broward education is also a powerful tool for social mobility, as 25% of Broward students move up two or more income quintiles. We look forward to continuing our partnership with Broward College to ensure that all students have the resources they need to persist to a degree.
“Serving in the Peer Mentoring and Leadership program at Broward College has shown me that a helping hand to guide you through any kind of journey makes a BIG difference. I serve because I love helping others, always have. The program has positively impacted my overall college experience, and my helping hand to each mentee assigned to me will impact theirs positively too. I am beyond grateful to be a part of this family.” – Veronica Oliveira, Peer Leader from 2020-2022