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KIPP Partners With Morehouse and Spelman to Promote College Completion in Underserved Communities Share a Spelman College Press Release


Spelman College

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Spelman College
Audrey Arthur

Morehouse College
Toni Mosley

KIPP Metro Atlanta
Jill Joplin

ATLANTA, GA - April 26, 2012 - The KIPP Foundation announced today that it will partner with Morehouse College and Spelman College in an effort to increase college completion rates for underserved KIPP students in Atlanta and nationwide. KIPP co-founder Mike Feinberg is in Atlanta today to sign the partnership agreement on behalf of KIPP. These partnerships are the first in the nation between a charter school organization and a historically black college or university.

“Spelman was founded in 1881 to provide educational access to underserved women of African descent. Recognized today as a global leader in higher education, we continue to build on our long legacy of empowering women to succeed and lead,” said Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum, president of Spelman College. “While KIPP is a much younger organization, KIPP schools across the nation have established a strong track record of educating high potential, underserved students who are ready for the academically challenging collegiate environment Spelman provides. We are proud to partner with KIPP in this new effort, knowing that we have a supportive learning environment in which KIPP graduates can thrive.”

Morehouse College and Spelman College have each pledged to enroll 15 KIPP alumni who meet admittance requirements for the 2013/2014 school year, and 20 KIPP alumni per year thereafter. The colleges have also agreed to support KIPP alumni on their journey through college with the assistance of financial aid advisors and college counselors. As part of this agreement, KIPP Metro Atlanta public schools will also become a work study site for students at Spelman and Morehouse.

“The Morehouse community is very excited to partner with the KIPP Foundation on this terrific initiative. We are committed to admitting students that exhibit strong aptitude for high achievement, and to equipping all of them with the tools they will need to complete their courses of study thereafter becoming Morehouse Men,” said Dr. Robert M. Franklin, president of Morehouse College. “We can think of no better organization than KIPP to help us give students the resources they need for academic, personal and professional success. We are confident that this new partnership will highlight the best practices of both KIPP and Morehouse - and, of course, our colleague Spelman. This partnership will offer life changing opportunities to an increased number of students.”

Created by Teach For America alumni Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin in 1994, KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) is a national network of open enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools. There are currently 109 KIPP schools serving 33,000 students in 20 states and the District of Columbia - 85 percent of whom are from low-income families and more than 95 percent are students of color. According to a 2010 study by Mathematica Policy Research, KIPP middle schools are achieving academic gains in math and reading that are statistically significant and substantial, while serving a student population that has entering achievement scores that are equivalent to students in neighboring public schools.

“We are so grateful for the commitment that Spelman and Morehouse have made to our KIPP students. Our partnerships will serve as an inspiration for our KIPP students to aim high and dream big,” said Mike Feinberg, co-founder of KIPP. “Our hardworking KIPPsters nationwide are proving every day that children from all backgrounds can excel and climb the mountain to and through college.”

Founded by David Jernigan in 2003, KIPP Metro Atlanta consists of five schools serving 1,200 students in Atlanta and South Fulton, and plans to grow to eight schools serving 3,300 students by 2018. In 2010, two KIPP Metro Atlanta Schools - KIPP WAYS Academy and KIPP South Fulton Academy - were ranked as the two highest performing non-selective middle schools serving 50 percent or more low income students in Georgia by the Georgia Public Policy Foundation.

“For years, students from Spelman College and Morehouse College have supported our students by serving as mentors or volunteers in our schools,” said KIPP Metro Atlanta Executive Director, David Jernigan. “This partnership agreement between these colleges and KIPP formalizes important institutional support that will not only benefit our KIPP students in Atlanta, but KIPP students across the nation.”

According to U.S. census data, 30 percent of all Americans aged 25-29 have earned a college degree. For students living in the bottom economic quartile, only eight 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 ten 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. Through the work of the KIPP network, including the college partnership initiative, KIPP aims to reach a 75 percent college completion rate - the same rate at which the nation’s highest-income students are graduating.

Morehouse and Spelman are the two most recent institutions to join KIPP’s national college partnership initiative, which currently includes nine college partners. KIPP’s other university partners include: Colby College (Waterville, Maine); Davidson College (Davidson, N.C.); University of Houston (Houston, Texas); Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, Pa.); San Jose State University (San Jose, Calif.); Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.); and Tulane University (New Orleans, La.).

About KIPP 
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 over 33,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C. Over 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Hispanic/Latino, and more than 80 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program. To date, over 85 percent of students who have graduated from KIPP middle schools have matriculated to college.

About Morehouse College
As the nation’s largest, private liberal arts college for men, Morehouse College was recently recognized as the number one liberal arts college in the nation by Washington Monthly; one of 45 “Best Buy” schools for 2011 by the Fiske Guide to Colleges; one of the nation’s Most Grueling Colleges in 2010 by The Huffington Post; the number three HBCU in the nation for 2011 by U.S. News & World Report; and as one of American’s Best Colleges for three consecutive years by Forbes magazine.

Prominent alumni include Martin Luther King Jr., Nobel Peace Prize winner and civil and human rights non-violent leader; Dr. David Satcher, former U.S. Surgeon General and director of the National Center for Primary Care of Morehouse School of Medicine; Shelton “Spike” Lee, filmmaker and president of 40 Acres & A Mule Productions; Samuel L. Jackson, Academy Award-nominated actor; Maynard H. Jackson, founder of Jackson Securities and the first African American mayor of Atlanta; and Nima A. Warfield, the first African American Rhodes Scholar from an HBCU. For more information about Morehouse College, go to


About Spelman College
Founded in 1881, Spelman College is a highly selective, liberal arts college widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent. Located in Atlanta, Ga., the college’s picturesque campus is home to 2,100 students. Outstanding alumnae include Children's Defense Fund founder Marian Wright Edelman; Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer; JPMorgan Chase Foundation President Kimberly Davis; former acting Surgeon General and Spelman’s first alumna President Audrey Forbes Manley; Harvard College Dean Evelyn Hammonds; author Pearl Cleage; and actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson. For more information, visit


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