A new partnership between Colby and the KIPP Foundation aims to improve access to the College for students from low-income families who are graduates of KIPP charter schools. The initiative focuses on strategies to help KIPP graduates, often first-generation college students, to succeed in higher education.


KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of open enrollment, college preparatory charter schools in 20 states and Washington, D.C. Founded in Houston in 1994, KIPP sets high academic standards for its students, who attend classes for an extended school day and participate in mandatory summer school.

The partnership aims to address financial barriers KIPP students face. Colby will deposit fees for applicants from KIPP charter schools and admitted KIPP students will receive grants, not loans, in their financial aid packages, as do all Colby students with financial need. But ensuring KIPP students access to Colby is only one piece of the partnership. Once enrolled, KIPP alumni will have access to support systems to help them succeed, including a Colby liaison familiar with KIPP, partnerships with KIPP graduates who are in upper classes at Colby.

Colby alumni serve in leadership roles at the KIPP Foundation and associated schools: Scott Shirey ’98, recently named one of one of the world’s seven most powerful educators by Forbes magazine, is executive director of KIPP Delta Public Schools; Elizabeth Meehan’97 is the KIPP Foundation’s director of development; Caleb Dolan ’96 is the foundation’s principal development programs director; Todd Dixon ’06 is the principal at KIPP Delta Collegiate school; Andrea DeAngelo ’03 is principal of KIPP Lynn Collegiate. A number of Colby alumni teach in KIPP schools nationwide.

This partnership is one of several initiatives at Colby to increase access for students from traditionally underrepresented groups and create programs that help them succeed. Colby has worked with the Posse Foundation for the past decade, enrolling 10 to 12 student leaders from New York City public schools each year. Posse students support each other to ensure that each member succeeds and graduates, and Colby provides a staff liaison to augment that support.

The College is in the third year of the Colby Achievement Program in the Sciences for students from groups historically underrepresented in the sciences. In the summer before their first year, these students spend six weeks at Colby getting acquainted with the campus, science facilities, faculty, and each other.

Colby also works with more than 100 community-based organizations that help students broaden the scope of their college search to consider highly selective liberal arts colleges. Among them are the National Hispanic Institute, College Horizons, which focuses on Native American students, and Academic Success Program and 21st Century Atlanta Scholars, which both focus on public school students from southern states.