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KC Scholars Supporting Post-Secondary Education

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KC Scholars launched in 2016, incubated at the Kauffman Foundation is now a 501(c)(3) with a community-based board
of directors. 

Each May, KC Scholars awards college scholarships to low- and modest-income students and adults. In May 2019, 1,409 scholarships were awarded. There are over 3,000 Scholars in the program; nearly 1,200 will be in college in fall 2019. 

KC Scholars’ mission is to increase the regional postsecondary education attainment. KC Scholars provides the means through scholarships, incentives to promote college savings, and college planning and support services for low-and modest-income students and working adults to pursue a postsecondary credit-bearing credential or degree. KC Scholars has a 75 percent college completion goal, seven times the national rate for low-income, first-generation college attendees. Achieving the mission will increase the region’s educational attainment, workforce pipeline, college-going culture and individual economic independence. 

KC Scholars serves a six-county, bi-state area: Cass, Clay, Jackson and Platte in Missouri and Wyandotte and Johnson in Kansas. Of our Scholars, 77 percent are first-generation college, 76 percent are individuals of color, many have little to no resources for college, and awardees attend 81 unique high schools. Scholars are high academic achievers! College advisement, planning and wrap-around support is provided by KC Scholars, its college advisement collaborators, and the 17 campuses in the postsecondary network. 

Early impact is impressive! Ninety eight percent of the first cohort of Traditional Scholars enrolled in college, compared to a 66 percent regional rate, and 96 percent persisted in college from year one to two. Ninety two percent of the Adult Learner Scholars (24 years or older with some college credit or an associate degree) persisted in college compared to 53 percent nationally for students age 24+ that returned to college. College Savings Account Scholars have contributed over $157,000 into their accounts as of March.

KC Scholars is projected to fill at least 10 percent of jobs in the high-demand sectors identified by civic leadership and will increase the regional college attainment rate by 5 percent and the Black and Latino rate by 13 percent.

KC Scholars is a community asset, designed through a community-engaged process, with 169 community donors to date and nearly 300 community volunteer scholarship reviewers. 

One hundred percent of external donations go to scholarship support, making it possible to award more scholarships annually. Even with over 3,000 awards in 3 years, there is a demonstrated need to fund more scholarships, as KC Scholars had another 3,000 eligible and qualified applications that went unfunded.

If you would like to become involved in KC Scholars, please visit to learn more about how you can make a difference in the life of an individual and the Kansas City region.