The Knowledge is Power Program, the United Negro College Fund, and the Corporation for Enterprise Development have announced a new partnership that that aims to boost college completion rates among students from low-income communities.
Anchored by $7.5 million in initial funding from Citi and the Citi Foundation, the Partnership for College Completion (PCC) seeks to provide students with incentivized savings accounts, financial and college-readiness education, and scholarship assistance through pilot programs at KIPP charter schools in Chicago, Houston, New York City, the San Francisco Bay area, and Washington, D.C. The partnership aims to serve more than six thousand students at twenty-eight KIPP schools by the end of 2012. According to UNCF, only 8 percent of U.S. students in low-income communities complete college by their mid-20s.
Underpinning PCC's educational efforts will be a special savings program created by Citi Microfinance and Citibank that will provide program participants with $100 in savings account seed money and matching contributions of up to $250 per academic year. According to the Center for Social Development at Washington University in St. Louis, students with savings accounts in their name — regardless of the amount saved — are seven times more likely to attend and remain in college compared to their peers without savings.
"Our goal is to dramatically increase the number of first-generation students — and those from low-to moderate-income families — who obtain a college degree, while also bringing their families into the financial mainstream," said Citi Foundation president and CEO Pam Flaherty. "This groundbreaking partnership is not only an investment in talented students, but an investment in our country's ability to remain economically competitive and vibrant."