KIPP and the Ludwig Family Foundation Launch National College Persistence Fund

WASHINGTON, DC – December 17, 2018 — With support from the Ludwig Family Foundation, the KIPP Foundation announced today that it will establish a microgrant program in four communities to help KIPP alumni persist through college. The new KIPP National Ludwig College Persistence Fund will build off the success of a similar grant program launched in 2014 by KIPP DC and the Ludwig Family Foundation.

KIPP is a national network of public charter schools that educates nearly 100,000 students Pre-K through 12 and supports more than 12,000 alumni in college. The KIPP Through College (KTC) program supports KIPP students in high school and college as they pursue the college and career path that’s right for them. During high school, KTC counselors help students identify the colleges that are the best match, submit their applications, and apply for financial aid. After high school graduation, KTC counselors support students as they navigate any academic, social, and financial challenges on the path to a college degree and future career.

Sometimes, an increase in room and board or an unexpected lab fee may leave a college student unable to pay their tuition bills, and possibly lead to them dropping out. The KIPP National Ludwig College Persistence Fund grants are one-time, emergency grants to KIPP alumni currently enrolled in college who are experiencing financial challenges that may cause them to drop out or take time off. While college persistence funds are not a substitute for students having a strong K-12 education, excellent college counselors, and adequate financial aid, they are one aspect of a comprehensive effort to increase college graduation rates for students from underserved families.

“We are so grateful to Carol and Eugene Ludwig for their personal commitment to increasing persistence rates of KIPP students,” said Richard Barth, Chief Executive Officer of the KIPP Foundation. “College persistence is a real focus for us, and the Ludwigs’ vision is profoundly important as we move forward in our work.”

The Ludwig Family Foundation and KIPP DC have been instrumental in testing persistence grants. KIPP DC has been able to offer persistence grants to its students since 2014 through the Carol and Eugene Ludwig College Persistence Fund. Of the nearly 40 KIPP DC students who have received Carol and Eugene Ludwig College Persistence Fund grants, 95 percent of recipients are still persisting or have graduated from college. The average persistence award at KIPP DC is currently $3,236.

“The persistence grant program in DC is incredibly promising, thanks to the hard work of the KIPP DC team,” explained Carol Ludwig, President of the Ludwig Family Foundation. “Now, we have the opportunity to test this type of intervention on a national scale. We are eager to see where this next stage of the pilot takes us.”

“The Carol and Eugene Ludwig College Persistence Fund at KIPP DC has been instrumental in preventing many KIPP DC students from dropping out and not graduating,” said Susan Schaeffler, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of KIPP DC. “We want to thank the Ludwigs for their generosity and for their focus on scalable, data-driven interventions that have a significant impact on students’ lives.”

Four KIPP regions will receive grants through the KIPP National Ludwig College Persistence Fund: KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools, KIPP NYC Public Schools, and KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools. Each region will receive between $37,000 and $40,000 in seed funding to start a local College Persistence Fund to provide microgrants for KIPP alumni in need of one-time, emergency grants. KTC counselors will identify KIPP alumni in college who are in need of the grant and proactively offer it to them.

“We are thrilled to implement the KIPP National Ludwig College Persistence Fund at KIPP Philadelphia,” said Jessica Cunningham Akoto, Chief Executive Officer of KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools and 2015 winner of the Milken Educator Award. “We are committed to supporting our students for the entirety of their journey to and through college, and this program has the potential to be game-changing for them.”


About KIPP

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life. KIPP schools are part of the free public school system and enrollment is open to all students. Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to enroll 96,000 students in all grades from Pre-K through high school. Nationwide, KIPP students complete their bachelor’s degree at a rate of 36 percent, comparable to the national average for all students and approximately three times higher than the average for students from low-income families.


About the Ludwig Family Foundation

The Ludwig Family Foundation (LFF), founded in 2003 by the Honorable Eugene A. Ludwig and Dr. Carol Ludwig, has since 2013 focused primarily on medical research, education and access to opportunity for low and moderate income families. The LFF is located in Washington DC.



Steve Mancini, KIPP

(415) 531-5396