Foundation Offers Free College Education to Low-Income Seventh-Graders If They Complete a Pre-College Training Program

The Kauffman Scholars program, funded by a $70 million endowment from the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation of Kansas City, offers a free college education to students who enroll in the program in seventh grade and remain in good standing until they graduate from high school. Students are subject to random drug tests and must stay out of trouble with the law, avoid early parenthood, and graduate from high school on time. Students must attend an after-school academy and Saturday classes, participate in community activities, take ACT test preparation classes, at the foundation’s expense, and go on field trips to seven universities that participate in the program. These universities actively recruit students who complete the program successfully.

The Kauffman Scholars program is open to any public school student in the Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri, school district who is eligible for the free or reduced price federal lunch program. Students must have good attendance and behavior records and at least a C average in sixth grade. About 40 percent of the students participating in the program are black.

Students who successfully complete the program are counseled on college admissions and financial aid opportunities. If federal and state grants do not pay for the complete cost of the student’s higher education, the foundation will pay any remaining costs for up to five years of undergraduate study.

Participating universities in the program are Kansas State University, Missouri State University, Northwest Missouri State University, the University of Arkansas, Central Missouri University, the University of Missouri at Columbia, and the University of Missouri at Kansas City.