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Nazareth partners with PeerForward again in 2023 to bring first generation students to and through college

Published July 12, 2023

Nazareth University is continuing a successful partnership with PeerForward this summer — hosting more than 100 high school students from 59 schools throughout the eastern part of the U.S., and Bermuda, for a life-changing experience intended to guide more young people to and through college. PeerForward is a national nonprofit organization gaining big success with an engaging peer-to-peer model to guide students in under-resourced schools to pursue four-year college degrees.

Students from high-income families earn a degree at a rate four times greater than those from low-income families, and PeerForward’s mission is to close that gap. Nazareth shares that mission of educational equity and social mobility and is partnering with PeerForward by hosting two four-day intensive workshops on campus — both July 13-16 and July 20-23 to provide transformative training so that young leaders can inspire and assist their friends, as well as themselves, to pursue higher education. 

“The energy and positivity that PeerForward brought to Nazareth last summer was incredible,” said Danielle Bucci, vice president for strategic enrollment, marketing and communications. “It is a thrill to invite them back this year to Nazareth University, and watch these young students discover that college is a path they can achieve. PeerForward is changing the lives of so many underrepresented students and Nazareth is committed to being part of the success.” 

PeerForward is well-established as a national leader in working with students who may not otherwise consider college an option. In its 25-year history, PeerForward has guided more than 600,000 students on the path to higher education. Of workshop attendees, 80% enroll in college.  

“We know that earning a higher education degree or credential sets students up for economic mobility and stability,” said Gary Z. Linnen, CEO of PeerForward. “We also know the pandemic set many students back, and that the recent Supreme Court decision against affirmative action just made their path to and through higher education a little harder. So we will lean in and work harder to help our students find good college matches, write their essays, and access financial aid opportunities.”

With the motto “4 days, 4 years, 4 life,” the rigorous workshop is the introductory Peer Leader training for rising high school seniors. Each student will live on Nazareth University’s campus to learn the ins and outs of the admissions process, create a college list, draft a personal essay, and learn about financial aid. Students, along with an adult advisor from each school, also learn how to teach and inspire their classmates by applying the fundamentals of community organizing. 

Peer Leaders then return to their high schools, train junior peer leaders, and create three campaigns to run throughout the academic year, designed to improve chances for postsecondary enrollment:

  • Apply to three or more higher education institutions
  • Apply early for financial aid
  • Make the connection between academics, careers, and community

About PeerForward

PeerForward is a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that has served schools across the nation for over two decades.

We confront the urgent crisis of education inequity that faces schools in under-resourced communities. There is a chasm between desire for degrees, and opportunity for low-income students to get them. This divide has a ripple effect, impacting every corner of our society.

PeerForward has found a way to level the playing field by tapping into an underutilized (and undervalued) resource already in every school: the students themselves. By empowering students (Peer Leaders) to help themselves and their fellow students persist to and through higher education, PeerForward dramatically improves postsecondary success at our partner schools, narrowing the higher education gap and launching generations towards career success and community leadership.

For More Information

Julie Long | Senior News & PR Officer | | (585) 389-2456 | (585) 781-8186 (cell)

Nazareth University is an inclusive community of inspired learners, educators, and changemakers who for nearly 100 years have been driven by a bold commitment to action, empathy, equity, and leading innovation for the common good. Impact experiences are at the heart of a Nazareth education, preparing each student to discover within themselves the potential to cultivate positive change in their life's work, in any career field, and in a world that is constantly evolving and infinitely interconnected.

Our broad academic offerings present a range of study options typical of larger universities, yet achieved in our supportive campus culture. Nearly 2,100 undergrad and 600 graduate students enroll in degree and certificate programs and engage in collaborative, transformative learning experiences, preparing for the professions and society of today and tomorrow. In a learning community that purposefully integrates liberal arts and professional programs, Nazareth University graduates are able to launch a lifetime of impactful leadership in communities and workplaces near and far.