California public universities are setting the standard.

At the other end of the spectrum, California has particularly strong public university options for students who receive Pell Grants.

Seven of the ten largest public IPS in the country are in the Golden State. At the University of California, in Irvine (UCI), a partner of KIPP College, 38% of their students receive the Pell Grants, and they form students eligible for the Pell Grant at a rate of 85%. The University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), is the number one high-quality public ISP in the country, with 39% of students receiving Pell Grants and 88% of students eligible for Pell Grant graduating on time. This is not far from UCLA’s graduation rate for students in general, which is higher than 90%.

What are these UC schools doing to help students from low-income families increase their chance to earn a diploma? Through ideas generated by its first-generation students, UCLA developed a dedicated dormitory, shared dinners and social gatherings for young people, so that they feel supported by other people who understand their unique challenges and struggles.

The sense of belonging is tangible for students like Angel Aguilar, a former student of the KIPP LA public schools, and the current second student at UCLA, who explains: “The Office of Community Programs has been my home here at UCLA. I did internships there and it’s my favorite place to be on campus. “The office connected me to veterans and university officials who grew up in neighborhoods similar to mine and served as mentors to me. college. ”

Start a talk

As the saying goes: what is measured is done. With that thought in mind, I hope to start a conversation about the implications of measuring and reporting graduation results for students who receive Pell Grants.

For starters: the new Pell Grant data is an essential resource for the KIPP faculty orientation program, as this will help us better guide students to enroll in colleges and universities where they can be successful. This will also allow us to look for ways to build a stronger cohesion between KIPP’s work in basic and higher education so that KIPP alumni can prepare for college.

Now for you … If you are a university professor or administrator, how did these data generate ideas on how to support all students to graduate?

If you are a high school student, what does this information about graduation rates make you think about which college you want to participate in?

And if you are an interested citizen, how can we use data like that to help increase the effectiveness of important federal programs like the Pell Grants?