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Thanks to a novel public-private partnership, Kids2College, an innovative early college awareness program that pairs sixth-grade classes with local colleges or universities, will expand to serve more than 500 D.C. public school students this year.


Under the partnership between D.C. Public Schools, the Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area, and The Sallie Mae Fund, Kids2College DC will triple its annual reach this year. The program -- operating within the Consortium of Universities/College Info Center -- will create six new partnerships with local universities, update existing curriculum and expand the program beyond its standard sixth-grade, six-week program to include a series of "academies" for participants as they continue through 12th grade.


Since 1996, Georgetown University has used the Kids2College academic enrichment program model to serve roughly 135 sixth graders each year from Ron Brown Middle School (formerly Roper Middle School) in Northeast Washington. Georgetown also provides a summer academy program for Kids2College students as they proceed through middle and high school into college. Since its inception, 94 percent of the students who participated in the Georgetown University program went on to graduate high school on time and enroll in postsecondary education.


"This program has the potential to make a tremendous, positive impact on the future success of Washington-area students," said John Childers, president, Consortium of Universities of the Washington Metropolitan Area.


With the expansion of the program from a single university, Kids2College DC will add as partners American University, George Mason University, Howard University, Prince George's Community College, Southeastern University and Trinity College in the first year of the program. Each partner college will adopt one or more local sixth-grade classes for the Kids2College program, and subsequently provide additional support, such as mentoring and tutoring, as they continue through secondary school.


"We are pleased that, together with our partners, we can expand the Georgetown University success story and expose these children to the fine institutions of higher education in the metropolitan area," continued Childers.


To celebrate the official opening of Kids2College DC and to mark the culmination of the six-week program, local sixth-graders will have their first experience on a college campus throughout April as they visit local universities for a "Day on Campus." The program and "Day on Campus" combine hands-on activities with information on careers, college life and academic preparation for education beyond high school.


The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, has committed $900,000 to fund the Kids2College DC expansion. The commitment is part of The Sallie Mae Fund's Project Access: DC initiative to help the District's at-need students pursue their dreams of a higher education.


"The Sallie Mae Fund is pleased to play an active role in expanding this important program in the metropolitan area," said Susan Corsini, chair, The Sallie Mae Fund. "Early awareness of educational options after high school plays a critical role in whether or not a child goes on to pursue postsecondary education, and the Kids2College program is vital in creating this awareness among many Washington metropolitan-area students."


In addition to Kids2College DC, The Sallie Mae Fund supports a statewide Kids to College® initiative in Massachusetts through the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities of Massachusetts and in Charlotte, N.C., in partnership with Communities In Schools.


Kids2College DC is a program of the Consortium of Universities/College Info Center (CIC). The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, is the founding sponsor of the Kids to College program established in 1992 in Massachusetts.


The Sallie Mae Fund, a charitable organization sponsored by Sallie Mae, achieves its mission -- to increase access to a postsecondary education for America's children -- by supporting programs and initiatives that help open doors to higher education, prepare families for their investment, and bridge the gap when no one else can.


Source: The Sallie Mae Fund

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