Thirty-three percent of KIPP graduates earned a bachelor’s degree 10 years after graduating from one of the charter network’s first middle schools in Houston or the Bronx, according to a KIPP report. Another 5 percent earned an associate degree and 19 percent are working toward a degree.
That’s far short of KIPP’s goal, a 75 percent four-year college graduation rate. But these low-income black and Hispanic KIPPsters are slightly more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than the average young American; the national rate is 30.6 percent. Only 8.3 percent of students from low-income families earn a bachelor’s degree by their mid-20s.
Some 95 percent of KIPP’s middle-school graduates completed high school compared to a national average of 83 percent. Only 70 percent of low-income students complete high school. Eighty-nine percent of KIPPsters enroll in college, compared to 62 percent of all U.S. students and 41 percent of low-income students.
KIPP graduates have more motivated parents than typical low-income students, Jeffrey Henig, a professor of political science in education at Teachers College, Columbia told Ed Week.
However, that extra motivation didn’t translate into higher achievement before enrolling in a KIPP middle school. When students start, typically in fifth grade, they’re achieving at similar levels to students in nearby schools, but doing worse than the district average, according to Mathematica’s research.
In 2004, KIPP began to open elementary schools to keep students from falling behind and high schools to keep middle-school graduates on the college track. KIPP To College was started to provide academic, financial and personal counseling to alumni.