During Black History Month, you can bolster inclusive excellence at UCLA by supporting the Vice-Provost's Initiative for Pre-College Scholars Program (VIPS), part of the Academic Advancement Program. We are blown away by our initial supporters who have helped us surpass our $5,000 goal. There is still time for you to join in and make a difference for students! As we head into the final days of our giving campaign, any gift above our goal will be matched and help fund additional scholarships for deserving VIP scholars.
UCLA’s VIPS Program was established in 2005 in collaboration with key stakeholders at UCLA in response to the declining number of underrepresented students admitted to and enrolled at competitive four-year universities. VIPS is a partnership between UCLA and the Los Angeles and Pasadena school districts that prepares historically underrepresented students in 11 high schools to become competitively eligible for admission to UCLA and other flagship universities, and to encourage pursuit of graduate and professional education using a social justice framework and holistic approach.
Through counseling, mentoring, student leadership, academic advising and summer residential programs, VIPS provides a network of support for students beginning in high school and all the way through their time at UCLA or other four-year universities and beyond. VIPS helps young students believe that graduating from high school and attending university is possible. Once you are a VIPS student, you are part of the VIPS family for life.
This month, you can make an impact for young Black students by making a gift to help us fund VIPS scholarships. While VIPS provides free programming to ensure students are competitively eligible for admission, scholarships ensure they can afford to accept a place at UCLA. As the community comes together for Black History Month, your gift, no matter the size, will make a significant difference for our students.
Since the inaugural VIPS cohort, 100% of VIPS students graduate from high school and 97% of students attend 4-year public institutions–with 53% attending UCLA. VIPS students at UCLA have an 88% retention rate.
VIPS students are successful not only because of the academic support they receive, but also because of the confidence they build. The mentors, often VIPS alumni themselves, show students how they can succeed.
"There is a clear, tangible piece of 'I know I can get there, because they got there too." - Trimaine Davis, former VIPS Retention Coordinator
VIPS programming is designed within a social justice framework that seeks to both increase students’ academic competitiveness and challenge students to think critically about the world around them. Not only are we successfully preparing students for four-year universities, but we are empowering them to become agents of change.
"A lot of our curriculum is based on empowering students, helping them to analyze what is going on within the context of their schools, neighborhoods, families and the world at large." - Ashely Williams M.Ed., Assistant Director of VIPS
Each year during spring semester, we recruit a cohort of 35-50 high school sophomores to participate in a two-year VIPS experience. The residential experiences provide a unique opportunity for students to participate in college level academic courses, as well as community advocacy training, holistic mentoring, UCLA admissions workshops and more. Students who successfully complete the 3-week and 5-week summer residential programs earn 9 college units and are eligible for a $20,000 scholarship should they enroll at UCLA after high school.
VIPS Day One
The VIPS Day One program is an expansion of the current VIPS model that allows the dedication of more time and effort to serving and supporting the processes of recruitment, retention, and completion of the program for young men of color. This program has a focus to develop research-based best practices to bolster holistic Black male success through academic advising and early college exposure using a social justice framework. In the summer, a weekend residential program titled Kulturally Influencing Ninth Grade Scholars (KINGS Summer) utilizes culturally relevant pedagogy designed to enrich students' Math, English, and creative skills.
This year marks VIPS last year of receiving reliable grant funding to support the program and its students. We need your help to sustain this impactful program on UCLA’s campus. All of our VIPS students have their courses, materials and food paid for by the program. While students are prepared to come to UCLA, without scholarships many would not be able to afford to accept a spot here. That is why we offer $20,000 scholarships to our eligible VIPS students who attend UCLA, and we cannot sustain this without your help. The more support we can rally from all of you, the more students we can accept and the more scholarship money we can award.
Each year we award a cohort of 10-15 students $5,000 a year for their four years at UCLA, totaling $20,000. Increasing this award to $7,000 a year would compensate for the rising cost for students – more accurately reflecting what they need to thrive. Your support helps bolster our scholarship support and ensures our deserving VIPS students can succeed at UCLA by helping relieve their financial burden and allowing them to focus on their studies and extracurriculars.
"VIPS is directly responsible for me going to get my doctorate... As an 11th grader, down on myself, thinking this is a national scholarship - there's no way I get it. This person looked me square in the eye and said 'Don't you think that there are going to be thousands of other students that feel the exact same way, making it more probable that you get this thing.' She said it once, but I heard it twice and I signed up. I got the scholarship and it has been paying for college ever since...She just took two extra minutes and said 'no, you are going to do this.' And a lot of times, that push can change a generation and that's what VIPS gives in so many instances."
- Tr'vel Lyons PhD, VIPS alumnus, former Day One Coordinator
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