Tips for Establishing Paid Peer
Mentor Positions

two people working together on an assignment
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The 2009 Peer Leadership Survey sponsored by the National Resource Center for The First-Year Experience and Students in Transition found that 65 percent of peer mentor positions receive some financial compensation. Today, the nature of the compensation (paid/unpaid, type of pay, and expectations for the position) varies widely between institutions and often varies widely even across a single campus.

We spoke this week with Jimmie Gahagan, director for student engagement at the University of South Carolina, an institution with a well-established track record in developing strong and innovative student leadership programs. USC does offer paid peer mentor positions, and we were interested to hear Gahagan’s advice on the questions and issues other institutions will need to address in order to set up these positions effectively.

"Paid positions can definitely provide a financial incentive to the students and can provide supervisors with the ability to more specifically direct their work through performance review and supervision. The risk is that in hiring you may lose some of the intrinsic volunteer motivation that you often see in peer leaders who have taken unpaid positions."
Jimmie Gahagan, University of South Carolina


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