Fisk University hosts panel about the importance of higher education. Fisk President Dr. Kevin Rome (second from left) expresses his enthusiasm for this partnership.

By Maya Hood, Fisk University, Tribune Intern

NASHVILLE, TN — The Knowledge Is Power Program (KIPP) is a network of free college-prep schools in underdeveloped communities in the United States. It is the largest network of charter schools in America. The mission at KIPP is to create a nationwide network of public schools that are successful at serving students in underdeveloped communities while enhancing their knowledge, social character, and skills needed to succeed in college and beyond. One of KIPP’s best attributes is that it is a nonprofit foundation. With 209 schools across the country they are servicing children in early childhood, elementary, middle and high school. Their goal is for all children to excel at the college level, if presented the opportunity to.

Fisk University has committed to awarding three to five scholarships a year to KIPP Nashville student. The partnership was formed so that Fisk can offer guidance to KIPP students in planning and directing their financial aid, and networking while giving them early exposure to university life.

Randy Dowell, KIPP Nashville Executive Director, spoke highly on Fisk’s effort to make KIPP students a part of the Fisk family.  He said, “It is significant to have a university partner just a few miles away that shares our vision of these students will not just excel in college, but also graduate with the skills and connections needed to lead successful and impactful lives.”

The Director of KIPP through College, Tiffany Russ voiced her thrill for the partnership between KIPP and Fisk. She said, “Our founding KIPP Nashville Collegiate High School students are now seniors, so this partnership comes at a time when our students are actively applying for college and choosing where they want to spend the next four years of their life. Partnerships like the one we’re celebrating today make great colleges more accessible and allow us to better support our students on the journey to and through college.”

This partnership is a manifestation of opportunities for students from underserved communities to accomplish their educational goals but also reach great lengths of success beyond.

Kevin Rome, Ph.D., president of Fisk University, said, “This agreement between Fisk University and KIPP demonstrates a true collaboration between two educational institutions committed to the outcome of student success.”

Fisk University is fully equipped with programs that are ready to help students in their transition to college. With the Office of Academic Excellence and Student Performance (AESP) students are provided with initiatives and programs that are guaranteed to increase retention and high graduation rates. Also, AESP provides advisors to students who enter college as undeclared, or students facing academic obstacles or those students in need of tutoring and supplemental instruction.