By Dr. Marciene Mattleman

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Sixty-eight percent of community college students are required to take at least one remedial course in what is called developmental education. Students placed in make-up classes become discouraged and drop out. Only a quarter earn a degree within eight years.

Connect2Complete, with funds from the Gates Foundation, provides low-income students in remedial classes peer mentors who have been through the program themselves. They start with a service learning community project together based on student interests.

The mentors work 20 paid hours weekly and, research from Brandeis University has shown that, the community-based project and the peer relationships at Owens Community College in Ohio showed the persistence rate of 32% compared with 25% in the comparison group. Their confidence level increased and career aspirations grew as they saw the relevance of needed skills.

Learn more about this effective and important intervention The Chronicle of Higher Education.