Formerly known as College Summit, PeerForward started in 1993, with four students at a teen center in the basement of a low-income housing project in Washington, D.C. The Center's Director, J.B. Schramm, had worked as an Academic Advisor at Harvard while in graduate school, and had seen that Admissions Officers were hungry for low-income talent. But every year at the Teen Center, he saw dozens of such kids ready for college and... not going. He was reminded of his own inner-city high school in Denver where – except for the very few with top grades and scores – low-income students didn’t go to college. The students with mid-tier credentials, many of whom could have done well at college, lacked the “know-how” and support senior year that the students whose parents had gone to college enjoyed.
Tired of seeing students "graduate" from his teen center to the street, Schramm became determined to help admissions offices see students the way he saw them. He enlisted the best writing instructor he’d seen in graduate school, and the finest urban youth worker he knew. Together they designed a system to help bright, low-income students who, with the right support during the post-secondary transition, could propel their lives (and communities) in a positive direction.