Success Story


Back to Success Stories
<< Return to Current Success Stories

UST Partners with KIPP Schools to Boost College Rates

Pictured L to R: Elaine Flores, Kristy Trevino, German Barbosa and Arely VegaThe University of St. Thomas will partner with KIPP (Knowledge Is Power Program) in an effort to increase college completion rates for underserved KIPP students nationwide.

UST President Dr. Robert Ivany said the University supports KIPP’s mission to prepare students for college.

“The University of St. Thomas looks forward to partnering with KIPP to provide opportunities for college-bound students,” Dr. Ivany said. “UST is proud of its outstanding and diverse first-generation college students. At St. Thomas, we offer a number of resources to help KIPP students earn a quality liberal arts education that will prepare them for a successful career and a rewarding life.  KIPP will also provide opportunities for our students to learn and work in a reciprocal way.”

With this partnership, UST seeks to recruit and enroll five to seven qualified KIPP alumni for the 2014-2015 school year and 10-12 each year thereafter. UST will provide support to enrolled KIPP alumni throughout their time on campus. Beginning next summer, five to 10 rising juniors and seniors will be invited to take part in UST’s summer programs at no cost to attendees. Additionally, KIPP Houston Public Schools will serve as an off-campus work study site for UST students, as well as observation and placement sites for UST students studying education.

“We are excited to partner with the University of St. Thomas, a local, private institution of higher learning,” said Sehba Ali, Superintendent of KIPP Houston Public Schools. “At KIPP, our goal is to get our students to and through college; we firmly feel that partnering with a strong, academic, student-centered institution like UST will help us meet that goal.”

Established in Houston in 1994, KIPP Houston Public Schools encompasses 22 free, open-enrollment charter schools that offer a rigorous, college preparatory education serving more than 10,000 students and an additional 1,000 alumni in college and beyond. As of spring of 2013, 94 percent of KIPP Houston Public Schools’ eighth-graders were proficient in reading on the State of Texas Assessments of Academic Readiness (STAAR) test, and 82 percent were proficient in math. KIPP Houston Public Schools has approximately 8,000 students on its waiting list.

KIPP Houston Public Schools is part of a national network of 141 KIPP public charter schools serving more than 50,000 students in 20 states and Washington, D.C.  More than 95 percent of students enrolled in KIPP schools are African American or Latino, and 86 percent qualify for the federal free and reduced-price meals program.

A report released this year by independent research firm Mathematica showed that KIPP middle schools nationwide are producing positive, significant and substantial achievement gains for students in all grades and four subjects—math, reading, science and social studies. Mathematica researchers found that KIPP achieved these academic gains with students that entered middle school with lower achievement scores than their peers in neighboring district schools.

KIPP’s college completion rate is above the national average for all students and four times the rate for students from low-income families nationwide. KIPP's goal is to reach a college completion rate that is comparable to that of the nation’s highest-income students.

The University of St. Thomas has 14 Kipp alumni, four of whom began this fall, enrolled and attending the University majoring in all areas of study.

Name: German Barbosa
Classification: Freshman
Major: Political Science

Barbosa is looking to join ROTC and eventually become a Judge Advocate General lawyer.

Elaine Flores
Classification: Freshman
Major: Environmental Science

As an environmental science major, Flores wants to make a positive impact in the environment.

Kristy Trevino
Classification: Freshman
Major: International Studies

Interested in cultures that span the globe, Houston, one of the most diverse cities in the nation, is the perfect place for Trevino to begin her studies.

Arely Vega
Classification: Freshman
Major: Pre-nursing

Vega is planning to join the nursing program and study a holistic approach to healthcare.

UST joins a growing list of KIPP college partners, including Brown University, Duke University, Georgetown University, the University of Pennsylvania and Spelman College.  A complete list of KIPP’s college partners can be found here