Blog: Latino Ed Beat

KIPP Initiative Seeks to Boost College Enrollment

Graduating from high school is not the only obstacle standing between Latino students and a college degree. Other hurdles include getting accepted to college, finding a way to pay for school and actually finishing a degree program.

This week, the KIPP Charter School chain announced a partnership with 10 universities across the country, designed to help KIPP students obtain college degrees.

The Houston Chronicle reported that the first partner will be the University of Houston. Other schools that have signed partnerships include: Tulane University, Colby College, Franklin & Marshall College and Davidson College

KIPP, which started in Houston in 1994, now has 27,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade nationwide. Like most charter schools, the KIPP student population is predominantly minority and low-income. About 60 percent of students are African-American and 35 percent are Latino, according to the KIPP website.

According to the Chronicle story, about one-third of KIPP Houston graduates don’t have a degree. (About 40 percent of KIPP Houston have earned a bachelor’s or associate’s degree and 27 percent are still in college).

Under the new partnership, students will work with UH starting in middle school, getting guidance on how to navigate red tape, college culture and financial aid. They will also be paired with mentors. In addition, KIPP will also apply lessons learned from the program to help prepare graduates to succeed in college.

The new KIPP partnership is one of many initiatives across the country in which colleges are reaching out to middle and high schools in an effort to increase Latino postsecondary enrollment. The California State University system has also partnered with community groups and Univision for “Es El Momento.”

It would be interesting to visit some of these programs and examine how successful they are. Which initiatives are effective in increasing college enrollment? Do the students stay to complete degrees? Why or why not?

Talk to students and parents to find out what the obstacles to college really are, and whether word of such initiatives is reaching those who really need them.