Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

WashU Offers Up to a Free Ride to KIPP Alumni Who Meet Academic Standards

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

WashU Offers Up to a Free Ride to KIPP Alumni Who Meet Academic Standards

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS * These scholars stand to be the first in their families to pursue a post-secondary degree.

When invited to meet with actual college students they had a lot of questions.

"What did you have to do to get into college?"

"Do you like college?"

"I like broccoli."

They are quickly pardoned for getting off track. They're only 5, after all.

Still, college is really not that far away for the kindergartners of Wisdom and Victory academies, two elementary schools that are part of the KIPP charter school network. An initiative with Washington University is closing that gap even more.

Starting fall 2017, money won't hinder KIPP alumni who are accepted into Washington University from attending. In a broadened partnership with KIPP, the university pledged to meet all demonstrated financial need for all KIPP alumni who meet the academic rigor required to enroll.

Washington University is the first Missouri college to become a KIPP college partner, but there are more than 80 institutions who do it nationwide. The St. Louis research institution is one of only a few of those partners willing to provide as much as a free ride to qualifying students, holding ranks with schools like the University of Pennsylvania.

Steve Mancini, a former teacher and the national spokesman for KIPP, called the Washington University partnership "the gold standard" as not many schools provide up to a free ride. There is no cap to how many KIPP students the university will fund either as many as those who get in, they say.

Mancini hopes this is the first of more Missouri college partnerships.

KIPP, an acronym for Knowledge is Power Program, is the largest nonprofit network of charter schools in the country, with 141 schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C. The network touts high college readiness among a largely minority student population. According to KIPP, 44 percent of their students complete a four- year degree, versus a national average of 34 percent.

The new partnership with Washington University applies to all KIPP alumni, including those across the country. Many of those students have graduated at a KIPP high school. …

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