Notre Dame de Namur University To Team Up With KIPP Schools To Promote College Completion

Belmont, CA, August 21, 2012 – The KIPP Foundation announced today that it will partner with Notre Dame de Namur University (NDNU) in Belmont, CA in an effort to increase college completion rates for underserved KIPP students in the Bay Area and nationwide. Through this partnership, NDNU projects enrolling 15 KIPP students over the next two years and possibly more in future years.

KIPP –the Knowledge Is Power Program–is a national network of open-enrollment, college-preparatory public charter schools that prepares students for success in college and in life. More than 95 percent of KIPP’s 39,000 students are students of color and 87 percent qualify for the federal free- and reduced-price meals program. In the Bay Area, seven KIPP schools serve more than 2,500 students throughout the region, and have achieved a track record of success with underserved students since 2002. To date, over 85 percent of KIPP Bay Area Schools alumni have gone on to college, more than twice the national average for students in low-income communities (46 percent).

“We are very happy about this partnership with KIPP. We know first-generation college students face a unique set of challenges, and we have worked hard to provide support that will help ensure our students’ success at NDNU,” said Hernan Bucheli, vice president for external affairs at NDNU. “KIPP is doing an excellent job preparing students for college, and we are proud to expand our work and further these efforts through this partnership. We look forward to welcoming more high-achieving KIPP students to our campus.”

NDNU’s partnership with KIPP is part of the university’s longstanding commitment to diversity. With more than half of its current student body being first-generation college students, NDNU hopes to recruit and enroll qualified KIPP alumni beginning in the 2013-14 academic year. The community of KIPP students attending NDNU will support each other on their journey through college and receive strong support from the university throughout their four years, including mentoring programs and assistance in improving financial literacy. NDNU has a need-blind admission policy, and KIPP staff will work with its alumni to access financial aid. There are currently three KIPP alumni attending NDNU with two more joining in the fall.

KIPP alumni will also participate in NDNU’s Gen-1 Program, which provides first-generation students with student mentors, study skills classes, financial and career seminars and other aid. Since it was implemented two years ago, the Gen-1 Program has significantly improved student retention and success. KIPP alumni attending NDNU will also receive student coaching and mentoring through the university’s InsideTrack program.

“We are thrilled to partner with NDNU and we are grateful to their commitment to KIPP alumni in the Bay Area,” said Beth Sutkus-Thomson, Executive Director of KIPP Bay Area Schools. “Our KIPP students are working hard every day to climb the mountain to college. This is an exciting new way for us to keep showing that demographics do not define destiny.”

Thirty-one percent of all Americans aged 25-29 have earned a college degree. For students in the bottom economic quartile, only 11 percent complete college by their mid-20s. As of 2011, 36 percent of KIPP students had completed a four-year college after finishing eighth grade at a KIPP middle school 10 or more years ago. KIPP’s four-year college completion rate is above the national average for students across all income levels and more than three times the rate for students from low-income families.

KIPP’s goal is to attain a college completion rate for its students that is comparable to the nation’s highest-income students.

Since fall 2011, KIPP has formed similar partnerships across the country with the following colleges and universities: Colby College (Waterville, Me.); University of Houston (Houston, TX); Franklin and Marshall College (Lancaster, PA); San Jose State University (San Jose, CA); Mercy College (Dobbs Ferry, NY); Tulane University (New Orleans, LA); Spelman College (Atlanta, GA); Morehouse College (Atlanta, GA); University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA); Duke University (Durham, NC); Davidson College (Davidson, NC) and Syracuse University (Syracuse, NY).

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. Two teachers, Mike Feinberg and Dave Levin, started KIPP in 1994 in Houston, Texas after completing their commitment to Teach For America. KIPP has now grown to 125 public charter schools, including seven in the Bay Area. These tuition-free, college-preparatory schools are located in the underserved neighborhoods of Bayview Hunters Point and the Western Addition in San Francisco, East San Jose, San Lorenzo, and West Oakland.
For more information visit