The PAL (Peer Alliance Learning) program is a peer facilitated academic support program that targets historically difficult courses so as to improve student performance and retention by offering regularly scheduled, out-of-class review sessions.

PAL Program Information 

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PAL Facilitator Learning Sessions

PAL Tutoring

Frequently Asked Questions


Definition, Purpose, and Participants


PAL (Peer Alliance Learning) is an academic assistance program that utilizes peer-assisted learning sessions. PAL sessions are regularly-scheduled, informal review sessions in which students compare notes, discuss readings, develop organizational tools, and predict test items. Students learn how to integrate course content and study skills while working together. The sessions are facilitated by “PAL facilitators”, students who have previously done well in the course and who attend all class lectures, take notes, and act as model students.


  1. To increase retention in targeted historically difficult courses.
  2. To improve student grades in targeted historically difficult courses.
  3. To increase student graduation rates.


PAL is a “free service” offered to all students in a targeted course. PAL is a non remedial approach to learning as the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students. All students are encouraged to attend PAL sessions, as it is a voluntary program. Students with varying levels of academic preparedness and diverse backgrounds participate. There is no remedial stigma attached to PAL since the program targets high-risk courses rather than high-risk students.


The PAL Model

The PAL model involves key persons:

  1. The PAL Coordinator is a trained professional who is responsible for identifying the targeted courses, gaining faculty support, selecting and training PAL facilitators, as well as marketing and evaluating the program on an ongoing basis.

  2. The faculty members of the identified historically difficult courses invite and support PAL. Faculty members screen PAL facilitators for content competency and approve selections as well as collaborate with the PAL facilitator and Coordinator on a regular basis.

  3. PAL facilitators are students who have been deemed exceptionally competent and have been approved by the course instructor and the PAL Coordinator. They are trained in proactive learning and study strategies as well as facilitation skills. PAL facilitators attend course lectures, take notes, read all assigned materials, and conduct three out-of-class PAL sessions a week. The PAL facilitator is the "model student" who assists students to integrate course content and learning strategies.

  4. Students participating in the PAL sessions are the most crucial component of PAL. PAL was introduced to specifically target historically difficult courses. These courses frequently are introductory or "gateway courses" but may also include upper level undergraduate courses and courses in professional schools.


Adapted from the University of Missouri - Kansas City website


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