KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) and Ouachita Baptist University officials announced Oct. 11 that they will partner in an effort to increase college completion rates for underserved KIPP students in the Delta and nationwide.
“We are most pleased to partner with KIPP,” said Ouachita President Rex M. Horne, Jr. “Their investment and interest in each young man and woman is most compatible with Ouachita. We believe this partnership will produce difference makers.”
Within the terms of this partnership, Ouachita plans to recruit and enroll two qualified KIPP alumni for the current academic year and each year thereafter. This fall, three KIPP alumni enrolled at Ouachita, exceeding the goal of the partnership. The university will provide strong support to all KIPP alumni who enroll. Additionally, Ouachita will address the full financial need of KIPP alumni at the school and develop a mentorship program to provide further peer support.
“We are very excited about this partnership with Ouachita Baptist University,” said Scott Shirey, executive director at KIPP Delta. “OBU is committed to helping more students graduate from college, particularly students from rural areas like our KIPPsters. Our students have the opportunity to get a rigorous college education in their home state, which will build and retain strong human capital right here in the Delta.”
Ouachita joins a growing list of KIPP college partners, including Brown University, Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania and Spelman College. A complete list of KIPP’s college partners can be found at KIPP.org.
Founded in 2002, KIPP Delta serves more than 1,200 students across four schools in Helena and Blytheville, Ark. Ninety-four percent of KIPP Delta’s students are African American, and more than 88 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price school lunch program. In 2013, KIPP Delta Collegiate High School was named the fourth best high school in the state of Arkansas by U.S. News & World Report and one of five “exemplary” schools by the Arkansas Department of Education in 2012.
KIPP Delta is part of a national network of 125 KIPP public charter schools. A report released this year by independent research firm Mathematica showed that KIPP middle schools nationwide are producing positive, significant and substantial achievement gains for students in all grades and four subjects—math, reading, science and social studies. Mathematica researchers found that KIPP achieved these academic gains with students who entered middle school with lower achievement scores than their peers in neighboring district schools.
According to the Pew Research Center’s 2012 analysis, 33 percent of Americans aged 25-29 have earned a college degree. For students in the bottom economic quartile, only 10 percent complete college by their mid-20s. As of fall 2012, 40 percent of KIPP students have earned a four-year college degree after finishing eighth grade at a KIPP middle school 10 or more years ago. KIPP’s college completion rate is above the national average for all students and four times the rate for students from low-income families nationwide. KIPP’s goal is to reach a college completion rate that is comparable to that of the nation’s highest-income students.
KIPP 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 141 schools serving more than 50,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C. More than 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Latino, and more than 86 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program.
Ouachita Baptist University, a leading liberal arts university, is ranked nationally among “America’s Best Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report and Forbes magazines. Founded in Arkadelphia, Ark., in 1886, Ouachita seeks to foster a love of God and a love of learning in a Christ-centered learning community.
For more information about the KIPP/Ouachita partnership, contact Lori Motl, OBU director of admissions counseling, at 870-245-4264 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Carissa Godwin of KIPP Delta at 870-714-9635 or Carissa.Godwin@kippdelta.org.