UCI News

UC Irvine partners with KIPP schools to boost college graduation rates

The Knowledge Is Power Program announced today that it will join with UC Irvine in an effort to increase the college completion rates of underserved KIPP students nationwide.

April 15, 2014

Irvine, Calif., April 15, 2014 – The Knowledge Is Power Program announced today that it will join with UC Irvine in an effort to increase the college completion rates of underserved KIPP students nationwide.

In this partnership, UC Irvine will seek to recruit, enroll, and academically and financially support 15 qualified KIPP alumni annually. All accepted KIPP students will be invited to UC Irvine’s Freshman Summer Start Program, and some will be chosen to take part in the SAGE Scholars Program, which develops leadership and business skills and offers need-based scholarships.

“A college education can open up a world of access and opportunity to students from underserved communities,” said Thomas Parham, vice chancellor for student affairs at UC Irvine. “Our partnership with KIPP demonstrates our commitment to providing a world-class education to California’s diverse student population.”

KIPP LA Schools, founded in 2003, operates five middle and four elementary campuses in East Los Angeles and South Los Angeles, each a free, open-enrollment, public charter school. The nonprofit organization serves more than 3,000 students, 89 percent of whom qualify for federal free and reduced-price meals. On the 2012-13 California Standards Test, KIPP LA students showed high levels of proficiency across all grade levels and subjects. KIPP LA Prep, one of the flagship middle schools, is the highest-performing junior high in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

“This partnership with UC Irvine is the first of its kind in Los Angeles, and it opens up unprecedented opportunities,” said KIPP LA executive director Marcia Aaron. “By joining forces with UC Irvine, we will be able to ensure that more KIPP students in Los Angeles and across the country have the support they need to succeed all the way to college graduation day.”

KIPP LA is part of a U.S. network of 141 KIPP public charter schools. A report released last month by independent research firm Mathematica showed that KIPP middle schools nationwide are producing positive, significant and substantial academic gains for students in all grades and four subjects: math, reading, science and social studies. Mathematica researchers found that KIPP accomplished this despite its students entering junior high with lower achievement scores than their peers in neighboring district schools.

According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 33 percent of Americans aged 25 to 29 had a bachelor’s degree. But only 10 percent of students in the bottom economic quartile had completed college by their mid-20s. As of fall 2012, 42 percent of KIPP students had earned a four-year degree after finishing eighth grade at a KIPP middle school 10 or more years earlier. This university completion rate is above the national average for all students and four times the rate for students from low-income families. KIPP’s goal is to achieve a college completion rate comparable to that of the country’s highest-income students.

UC Irvine joins a growing number of KIPP college partners, including Brown University, Duke University, Georgetown University, UC Berkeley, the University of Pennsylvania and Spelman College. A complete list can be found at KIPP.org.

About the University of California, Irvine: Located in coastal Orange County, near a thriving employment hub in one of the nation’s safest cities, UC Irvine was founded in 1965. One of only 62 members of the Association of American Universities, it’s ranked first among U.S. universities under 50 years old by the London-based Times Higher Education. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UC Irvine has more than 28,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.3 billion annually to the local economy.

About the Knowledge Is Power Program: KIPP is a national network of open-enrollment, college prep, 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 at least 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 86 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program.

Media access: UC Irvine maintains an online directory of faculty available as experts to the media at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists/experts/. Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit wp.communications.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.