GU Teams With Charter School Group
Published: Tuesday, December 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, December 4, 2012 02:12
Georgetown formally partnered Nov. 26 with the Knowledge Is Power Program, a national charter school system aimed at boosting college attendance among students from low-income, minority backgrounds.
In exchange for annual support from KIPP in identifying top students to apply to the university, Georgetown has agreed to provide social, academic and financial support to help these students graduate, according to the university’s memorandum of understanding with KIPP.
Three KIPP alumni are currently enrolled as Georgetown undergraduates.
Under the partnership, KIPP will identify eight to 12 students each year who the university will then recruit for enrollment. The charter school program has agreed to then promote Georgetown to its accepted students.
Brown University, the University of Pennsylvania, Syracuse University and Duke University are among the 20 schools to have partnered with KIPP.
Peter Croncota (GSB ’83), director of operations of New York City’s KIPP Infinity Charter School, established a $1 million scholarship fund in 2011 for KIPP alumni attending Georgetown. He said the recent arrangement between KIPP and Georgetown marks a natural progression in the university’s policy.
“Part of the reason why this partnership makes sense is because Georgetown had already put in place many of the programs to serve first-generation college students — exactly the kind of things that make the partnership valuable,” Croncota said.
According to KIPP Director of Public Affairs Steve Mancini, the roots for the agreement began when Dan Porterfield (CAS ’83), former senior vice president for strategic development at Georgetown, helped bring in KIPP students to the university’s summer institutes for students from disadvantaged backgrounds. This past summer, 18 KIPP students participated in the program.
“This is a coalescing of a partnership that has a long history already,” Mancini said.
Mancini emphasized, however, that the partnership is not tantamount to an affirmative action admission policy and that there were no quotas for KIPP alumni set aside in Georgetown’s admissions plans.
“The Georgetown admissions office controls who they admit, and they have full control of who they accept,” he said. “They’re only going to admit those kids that meet Georgetown’s rigorous standards.”
According to university spokesperson Stacy Kerr, “This partnership with KIPP is rooted in our commitment to finding the most qualified students from all backgrounds.”
For Mancini, the goal of the partnership is to reduce the university completion gap between rich and poor students.
“We want to have college completion rates that are near the kids from the wealthiest quartile,” he said. “So to get there, we need to form partnerships with places like Georgetown who clearly have a real commitment to helping kids climb the mountain to college.”
Mancini attributed part of the agreement’s initiation to University President John DeGioia, adding, “This partnership can open doors of opportunity for dozens of kids who might not have a chance at the American dream.”