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.

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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.

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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.

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