News

Davidson College and Duke University Partner with KIPP Schools to Promote College Completion

by Davidson College

Davidson College and Duke University announced today that they are partnering with KIPP to increase college completion rates for young people from low-income communities. KIPP--the Knowledge Is Power Program--is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools that prepares students for success in college and in life. More than 95 percent of KIPP's 33,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C., are students of color and 85 percent qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program. In North Carolina, KIPP has one charter school in Charlotte and two in Gaston that serve more than 1,000 students. A third KIPP school will open in Gaston this summer.

Davidson College, the third college in the nation and the first in North Carolina to sign onto the program, hopes to recruit and enroll a cohort of qualified KIPP alumni beginning in the 2013-14 academic year. Davidson will support mentoring opportunities between upperclassmen and KIPP graduates enrolled at Davidson. In addition, 10 rising high school seniors will participate at a Davidson pre-college summer program, called July Experience, beginning in 2012.

"All young people deserve not just a college education, but the best college education for them," said Davidson College President Carol Quillen, "and Davidson strives to make equal opportunity real through simultaneous, aggressive commitments to academic excellence and to access for all talented students, regardless of financial circumstances. At Davidson, we do everything possible to ensure that our students thrive, both at the college and after they graduate. KIPP's effectiveness is well known, and it is a privilege to work with this program as we realize these aspirations."

Duke will actively recruit 8 to 12 KIPP students each year for possible enrollment in the university. Duke will provide those KIPP students who do enroll with a range of services, beginning with a pre-orientation program, that are designed to help them succeed as Duke students.

This agreement will build upon Bruce and Martha Karsh's $50-million donation to Duke in December 2011 for undergraduate financial aid. Ten percent of that gift -$5 million -is designated for KIPP students who gain admission to Duke.

"Duke University is proud to expand our current recruitment efforts to reach out to KIPP schools nationwide," said Duke University President Richard H. Brodhead. "This initiative will ensure that talented KIPP students are aware of Duke's dual commitment to making a Duke education affordable and to supporting our students throughout their college years. We're looking forward to benefiting from the energy and contributions of more KIPP alumni on our campus."

Davidson and Duke both have a need-blind admissions policy, which means they do not consider an applicant's ability to pay for college when making admissions decisions. Both schools guarantee to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all KIPP students they enroll.

"Duke and Davidson are incredible schools," said Tiffany Flower-Washington, CEO of KIPP Charlotte. "We are grateful for their commitment to our students and look forward to working together over the next several years to get more KIPPsters on the path through college and towards a better future."

According to 2009 U.S. Census data, 30 percent of all Americans aged 25-29 have earned a college degree. For students in the bottom economic quartile, only 8 percent complete college by their mid-20s. By contrast, 36 percent of KIPP students have completed a four-year college after finishing eighth grade at a KIPP middle school 10 or more years ago -- more than the average for all students across all income levels and four times the rate for students from low-income families.

KIPP's goal is to attain a college completion rate for its students that is comparable to the nation's highest-income students.

"This partnership will open doors of opportunity for our students at two outstanding colleges and universities in North Carolina," explained Tammi Sutton, co-founder and executive director of KIPP Gaston College Preparatory. "While our students have gained admissions to these schools in the past, many have not had the financial means to attend. With this new commitment, all of our students who choose these universities will earn a diploma from these schools."

With the addition of Davidson and Duke, KIPP's total number of college and university partners now stands at 12. Other university partners include Colby College (Waterville, Me.); University of Houston (Houston, TX); Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA); San Jose State University (San Jose, CA); Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY); Tulane University (New Orleans, LA); Spelman College (Atlanta, GA); Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA); Texas State University (San Marcos, TX); and the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA).

KIPP--the Knowledge Is Power Program--is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools with a track record of preparing students in underserved communities for success in college and in life. KIPP was founded in Houston in 1994 and has grown to 109 schools serving more than 33,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C. More than 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are students of color, and more than 85 percent qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program. To date, more than 80 percent of students who have graduated from KIPP middle schools have matriculated to college.