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KIPP Through College

April 12, 2011

KIPP, or Knowledge is Power Program, is an amazing charter school effort.  True, there many obstacles they face and they aren’t perfect, but I think the benefits far outweigh the cons.  One of the unique aspects of KIPP is the KIPP Trough College program, where KIPP staff tracks KIPP’sters (KIPP students) after they leave the KIPP school to determine if the kids not only go to college, but go through it, and graduate.

When 3 in 10 Americans have a four year degree, and only 1 in 10 Philadelphians have a four year degree, getting kids through college is an obvious obstacle.  In the Philadelphia School District 55% of  kids graduate on time.  Last year, the first possible year for the KIPP Through College program was able to track students who attended the North Philadelphia KIPP Charter School, 90% of KIPP’sters graduated high school on time.

The KIPP Through College program assists with college placement including scholarship identification and application.  They also bring in an outside company to talk to parents about 529 plans.

A 529 plan, as described by Upromise is

” one of the most flexible ways to save for college, with tax benefits, account control, and professional investment management.”

Upromise is a great tool for everyone – whether you’re a parent saving for you child, a graduate who is paying off school loans, or, you know someone saving for school because anyone can contribute.   By linking up your Acme/SuperFresh/grocery store card or credit to a Upromise 529, you get automatic cash back when you purchase certain items.  That money  is automatically transferred into the 529 plan.  It’s truly a free way to invest money that has been spent.

What does this have to do with health?  And even food?  Well, it’s complicated right?  It’s life.

Each year of school past high school has been shown to be associated with a 10% increase in yearly income.   Higher incomes have been associated with increased health.  In terms of food, school is also where students spend a lot of time, and can pick up healthy eating habits.  Check out the CDC’s Guidelines for School Health Programs to Promote Lifelong Health Eating.

Graduating from high school is the first step.  According to the National Prevention Dropout Center/Network out of Clemson University:

  1. High school dropouts are four times as likely to be unemployed as those who have completed four or more years of college;
  2. Graduating from high school will determine how well you live for the next 50 years of your life. High school graduates earn $143 more per week than high school dropouts. College graduates earn $336 more per week than high school graduates ($479 more per week than high school dropouts);
  3. Dropouts are more likely to apply for and receive public assistance than graduates of high school;
  4. Dropouts comprise a disproportionate percentage of the nation’s prison and death row inmates. 82% of prisoners in America are high school dropouts;
  5. School districts all over the country provide alternative programs for students who are not successful in the usual school setting. The best programs in the country are featured in our Model Programs Database.

KIPP is getting kids to graduate high school.  And go to college.  GO KIPP!

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