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Blinn, KIPP partner to put students on the path to a college degree

Approximately 40 students got their first glimpse of college life this week at special orientation session

June 27, 2014

KIPP Program

Students from one of the premier charter schools in the nation got their first glimpse of life at Blinn College this week at a special New Student Orientation.

Approximately 40 students from the Knowledge is Power Program (KIPP) participated in a two-day orientation that included enrollment, academic advising, financial aid, student life and housing information, and even featured a mock class so students could feel what it’s like to be in a real college course.

This Fall, between 40 and 50 KIPP graduates from campuses in Houston, Dallas, Austin and San Antonio will attend Blinn as a single cohort, allowing those students to capitalize on Blinn’s smaller class sizes and greater affordability on their way to earning a four-year degree.

“I talk about Blinn with my students all the time,” said Isaiah Spann, KIPP assistant program director. “They even ask me why I like Blinn so much, and I tell them I’m from a small town, and if I’d known Blinn was an option I’d have gone to Blinn.”

KIPP is a nationwide network of free, open-enrollment college preparatory schools that serves 50,000 students across 141 schools. More than 86 percent of KIPP students are eligible for the federal free or reduced-price meals program and 95 percent are black or Hispanic. As part of its KIPP Through College Program, the school tracks its alumni and offers academic advising and counseling services throughout their students’ college experience.

Spann will visit with KIPP alumni attending Blinn each month to check their status and offer personal support.

“My job is to make sure they get through college and earn a degree,” he said.

Blinn is the only two-year college to create a formal partnership with KIPP.

“Their model is based on four-year school acceptance, and for them to recognize Blinn’s success in transferring students to four-year schools and to partner with us to get their students on the path to a four-year degree is phenomenal,” said Mordecai Brownlee, Blinn’s dean of Student Life. “KIPP is committed to this relationship and we’re committed to them.”

For KIPP students, this week’s orientation marked the first step of their Blinn experience. Students met with faculty and staff, learned about financial aid opportunities and received tips on how to succeed in a college environment. Students had the opportunity to complete testing, print their student identification cards and register for classes and housing.

“I think our kids learned a lot about themselves just from the orientation,” Spann said. “They are being introduced to a lot of new responsibilities, but I think Blinn gives them a great opportunity to meet those responsibilities head on.”

Blinn enrolled 18,413 students this Fall and has experienced 31.1 percent growth since 2006. Founded in 1883, the College’s tuition and fees average about one-third the cost of the same classes at most four-year public universities in the state. In addition to its campuses in Brenham, Bryan, Schulenburg and Sealy, the College teaches online courses, dual credit for high school and prepares students for quick employment through its career and technical certification programs.

Registration is currently available for the Summer II and Fall semesters. For enrollment information and to learn about financial aid opportunities, visit: www.blinn.edu.