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The 2018-19 school year is going to be a little easier for 18 students heading back to campus with money from a UNCF scholarship, launched in partnership with Kevin Hart’s Help from the Hart Charity and KIPP Public Schools.

The $600,000 scholarship will provide funding to support KIPP Public Schools students from eight different cities who are attending 11 historically black colleges and universities.

KIPP, the Knowledge Is Power Program, is a national network of 224 public charter schools dedicated to preparing students in educationally underserved communities for success in college and life.

“Education and knowledge are powerful,” said Hart. “I just wanted to do my part in providing opportunities for our future leaders, especially from my Philly hometown, and show support for HBCUs.”

Willie Smalls, one of the six students from Philadelphia, PA is a mathematics freshman at Morehouse College. Other recipients include Casey Adams (Economics), Jada Taylor (Business administration) and Kerry Gaino (Accounting). Ayan Robinson is the only engineering sophomore at Tuskegee University.

According to a survey of KIPP alumni across the country, KIPP graduates who attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) reported a stronger sense of belonging, better mental health, and were more likely to have a mentor than those attending non-HBCUs.

Started in 1994 as a middle school program, KIPP has since expanded to enroll 96,000 students in all grades from pre-K through high school.

“There are more than 1,300 KIPPsters currently enrolled at HBCUs, and together, we are bringing resources and shining a spotlight on these students who are doing all they can to get a college education,” said UNCF CEO and President Michael L. Lomax. “This unique partnership will help UNCF continue to bridge the gap from high school success to college achievement and enables UNCF to help more students get to and through college.”

The 18 students receiving college scholarships are high school graduates who attended KIPP public charter schools in Arkansas Delta, Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Houston, New Orleans, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC.

“Nothing brings me greater joy than to see the hard work of these 18 KIPP students recognized by Kevin Hart and UNCF through this generous scholarship program,” said John Fisher, chair of the KIPP Foundation Board of Directors. “Michael Lomax has been a longtime KIPP supporter and friend and a tireless champion for young people. We are incredibly grateful to both UNCF and Kevin Hart for their partnership and support to help our students thrive in college and achieve their dreams.”

See the full list of recipients here.

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