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More Kauffman Scholars now attend BU

Attending college with all your tuition, room, board and books paid for is only a dream for most students. However, this dream is a reality for 23 Kauffman Scholars on campus.

Through Kauffman Scholars Inc., these students have been preparing for college since the sixth grade by taking ACT prep classes, visiting colleges and attending numerous events designed to help develop college readiness skills. In return, they receive a paid education from their choice of many schools.

“The fact that I could go to school anywhere and not have to place a burden on my family to pay for my desire to receive an education beyond high school is what captured my attention,” said Aradaisia Walker, a freshman Kauffman Scholar.

However, the check is not simply handed to them. The scholars must commit to receiving academic advising and career coaching.

The number of Kauffman Scholars at Baker University has increased over the past four years. In 2011, there were only two scholars on campus. This year, Baker has enrolled nine freshman scholars, according to Kauffman Senior Communications Specialist Lauren Beatty. The current number of Kauffman Scholars on campus is four seniors, two juniors, eight sophomores and nine freshmen.

“These are students who have committed a lot of time and energy into a program,” Senior Director of Admissions Kevin Kropf said.

Walker and Da’Janae Moreland are two of the nine Kauffman scholars enrolled in the freshman class. Walker was interested in the program because the opportunity was too good to pass up. Moreland’s mother signed her up because her older sister had previously completed the program.

Moreland and Walker both attended Lincoln College Preparatory Academy in Kansas City, Missouri. Moreland credits the high school for her academic success.

“They pushed us extremely hard, but it’s paying off so much now that we’re here,” she said.

Moreland did not like the fact that summer classes consumed much of her time, but Walker thought the hard work had its advantages.

“I think the work has paid off because now tuition is one less thing to worry about,” Walker said.

The program is designed to help urban students in Kansas City prepare for and complete a college education. The students must live within the boundaries of the Kansas City, Kansas, or Kansas City, Missouri, public school districts and attend a school in those districts.

Ewing Marion Kauffman is the founder of the 27-year-old organization. Most people may associate him with the Royals Kauffman Stadium. However, he cared about more than baseball. He believed that education was the key to success.

There are currently 1,013 active Kauffman Scholars in high school and college. During the 2011-2012 school year, the program accepted its last class of seventh graders. The program will remain active until those scholars graduate college in 2021 or 2022. The Kauffman Foundation recently reported that when the final class of scholars graduates, it will have invested more than $140 million in over 2,200 area students.