Berea College Partners with KIPP Charter Schools to Increase College Completion Rates

KIPP logoBerea, KY – Berea College and KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) public charter schools have announced a partnership aimed at increasing college completion rates for KIPP students from educationally underserved communities. Berea College is KIPP’s first college partner in the state of Kentucky.

KIPP is a non-profit network of college-preparatory, public charter schools educating elementary, middle, and high school students. There are 200 KIPP schools in 20 states and the District of Columbia educating nearly 80,000 students on their path to and through college, careers, and life.

“We are very proud to partner with Berea College,” said KIPP Foundation CEO Richard Barth. “Their commitment will hopefully serve as a catalyst for other similar partnerships aimed at increasing the number of young people who graduate from four-year colleges.”

With this partnership, Berea College hopes to recruit, admit, and enroll a cohort of academically talented KIPP alumni annually, beginning in the fall of 2017. Berea will meet the full demonstrated financial need of KIPP alumni and provide a SUCCESS (Students United to Create Culturally and Educationally Successful Situations) mentor to support current students and liaise with prospective students. Additionally, Berea will make it possible for KIPP high school students to visit the college by providing all accommodations and meals at the Carter G. Woodson Diversity Weekend, a weekend designed to give prospective students a glimpse into the lives of students at Berea College.

“I am delighted that Berea College and KIPP have been able to put in place a Memorandum of Understanding that will facilitate consideration of KIPP graduates for admission to Berea College,” said Berea College President Lyle Roelofs. “Our two institutions share the goal of transforming lives through education with a strong focus on serving students who would otherwise not be able to obtain a high quality education; this is such a natural partnership!”

There are currently four KIPP alumni enrolled at Berea College, graduates of KIPP schools in Eastern North Carolina, the Arkansas Delta, and Chicago. KIPP students from across the country have a track record of completing college at higher rates than national averages. According to 2010 U.S. Census data, 31 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 2015, 44 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. Nationally, KIPP students complete college at a rate that is above the national average for all students and more than four times the rate than that of students from similar economic backgrounds.

“KIPP is known for its focus on preparing students for the challenges they might face on their journeys to college and rewarding careers. Berea College builds on that foundation by offering both the education and the unique work experiences that prepare students for success,” said KIPP Eastern North Carolina graduate and current Berea College sophomore Malcolm Blowe. “I am excited for more KIPP alumni to have the opportunity to learn at Berea and for those same students to strengthen the Berea community by bringing their own diverse perspectives and experiences.”

Berea College joins a growing list of KIPP college partners that includes Washington University in St. Louis, Brown University, University of Notre Dame, University of Pennsylvania, Emory University, Syracuse University, Pomona College, Duke University, Georgetown University, and Spelman College. A complete list of KIPP’s college partners can be found at

Categories: News, Programs and Initiatives
Tags: alumni, Dr. Lyle Roelofs, KIPP

Berea College, the first interracial and coeducational college in the South, focuses on learning, labor and service. The College only admits academically promising students with limited financial resources—primarily from Kentucky and Appalachia—but welcomes students from 41 states and 76 countries. Every Berea student receives a Tuition Promise Scholarship, which means no Berea student pays for tuition. Berea is one of nine federally recognized Work Colleges, so students work 10 hours or more weekly to earn money for books, housing and meals. The College’s motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” speaks to its inclusive Christian character.