Fisk University Partners with KIPP Charter Schools to Increase College Completion Rates - KIPP Nashville

Fisk University Partners with KIPP Charter Schools to Increase College Completion Rates

KIPP is partnering with Fisk University to increase the number of students from educationally underserved communities that earn a college degree.

In partnering with KIPP, Fisk University will provide three to five college scholarships annually to qualified KIPP Nashville students. Fisk will offer KIPP students assistance navigating financial aid, access to a peer support network, and opportunities for early exposure to the university.

“Fisk University has done an outstanding job supporting KIPP Nashville alumni over the years, and we are excited for more KIPP students to join the Fisk community,” Randy Dowell, KIPP Nashville Executive Director, said. “It is significant to have a university partner just a few miles away that shares our vision that students will not just excel in college, but also graduate with the skills and connections needed to lead successful and impactful lives. We have several Fisk alums who are KIPP teachers, and we are looking forward to building on this partnership in the years ahead.”

Established in 2005, KIPP Nashville’s five public charter schools currently educate more than 1,700 students at the elementary, middle, and high school level. KIPP Nashville’s college prep public schools are tuition-free and open to all. KIPP Nashville currently has 115 students enrolled in college, including two at Fisk. KIPP Nashville is part of the national network of KIPP public charter schools, dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and in life.

“We are proud to partner with KIPP and are excited about increasing opportunities that allow for students from traditionally underserved populations to reach their educational goals,” said Kevin Rome, Ph.D., president of Fisk University. “This agreement between Fisk University and KIPP demonstrates a true collaboration between two educational institutions committed to the outcome of student success.”

Through the Office of Academic Excellence and Student Performance (AESP), Fisk University provides university-wide initiatives and programs to increase student retention and graduation rates.  In addition, AESP provides academic advising to students with undeclared majors, students experiencing academic challenges, academic skills workshops, and tutoring and supplemental instruction.

“We are thrilled to be entering into this partnership with Fisk University,” Tiffany Russ, Director of KIPP Through College at KIPP Nashville, said. “Our founding KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School students are now seniors, so this partnership comes at a time when our students are actively applying for college and choosing where they want to spend the next four years of their life.  Partnerships like the one we’re celebrating today make great colleges more accessible and allow us to better support our students on the journey to and through college.”

“I am excited to hear about the partnership, because that means more KIPPsters will have the chance to learn and grow at a university that is preparing me for the future. I look forward to being a mentor to other KIPP students from my alma mater and from across the country,” KIPP Academy Nashville Alumna and Fisk junior, Mekka Abdullah, said.

KIPP is a national network of 209 schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C. educating 88,000 students in Pre-K through 12th grade. KIPP has established college partnerships with more than 90 colleges and universities. Twenty-five percent of college-enrolled KIPP students are attending a college partner.  Fisk, MTSU and Vanderbilt University are the three institutions in Tennessee currently involved in the KIPP College Partnership program. You can view a complete list of KIPP’s college partners here.

Nationwide, 38 percent of KIPP students who completed eighth grade or started ninth grade with KIPP have gone on to graduate from a four-year college or university.  KIPP’s national college completion rate is above the national average for all students (36 percent), and approximately four times the national average for students from low-income families (about nine percent).