KIPP Middle and High School Students Have Far Higher College Completion Rates

By Jo Napolitano

A new study reveals vastly improved college enrollment and completion rates for students who attended both KIPP middle and high schools as compared to a similar group of children who applied for enrollment but were not selected in the network’s lottery system.

KIPP middle and high school students were 31 percentage points more likely to enroll in a four-year college within three years of high school versus those students who were not selected, according to the study. And their likelihood of graduating college within five years after high school shot up by 19 percentage points.

Among Mathematica’s sample of students, the effect of attending both a KIPP middle school and high school was so large that if it were applied to all students nationally, the longstanding college completion gap between Black and Hispanic students and their white peers would nearly close.

“The magnitude of these impact estimates is large, and effects of this size have substantial policy relevance,” the researchers write.

KIPP, which got its start in Houston in 1994, now serves 120,000 students across 21 states and Washington, D. C. It currently operates 117 elementary, 121 middle and 42 high schools.

KIPP enrolls mostly Black and Hispanic students from low-income communities, children who have been historically underserved and have lower high school and college completion rates.

KIPP places much emphasis and resources on supporting its alumni through college and into their early careers. The model of following through with children beyond high school has seen tremendous success elsewhere: Students who participated in Chicago’s OneGoal program, which spans students’ junior and senior year of high school in addition to their freshman year of college, had a 40% greater chance of earning a bachelor’s degree than their peers, a recent study found.

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