A charter school network in Memphis is getting into the college scholarship game with the help of a national grant.
KIPP Memphis Collegiate Schools was one of four charter networks nationwide selected for a $40,000 grant to launch a “college persistence fund,” which will provide small, emergency grants to help KIPP Memphis graduates pay for college.
“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,” a KIPP spokeswoman said in a statement.
The Memphis network runs seven schools, one of which is a high school. KIPP Memphis Collegiate High School saw 80 percent of its graduates last year go on to a post-secondary institution. That’s 20 percentage points higher than the district average.
KIPP Bay Area Public Schools, KIPP NYC Public Schools, and KIPP Philadelphia Public Schools were also selected by the Ludwig Family Foundation to receive grants. The DC-based foundation launched a similar college fund with KIPP DC in 2014.
The DC KIPP chapter has seen success with the small grants, the KIPP Foundation’s leader, Richard Barth, wrote on Monday in a column for Forbes. Over the last four years, KIPP DC has offered 39 persistence grants to alumni in college, and 95 percent of those grant recipients are still in college or have graduated.
“These awards, which average around $3,200, provide critical support, like helping KIPP alumni take summer courses to fill credits and accelerate towards graduation or covering living expenses that can derail a college degree,” Barth wrote.