Marymount partners with DCPS Persists program to increase guidance, support for students

Marymount partners with DCPS Persists program to increase guidance, support for students


Last month, Marymount University officially established a new partnership with District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to support DCPS Persists, an innovative program that will provide students in the Class of 2020 and beyond a guaranteed support network as they embark on the next chapter of their educational journey.

Through DCPS Persists, eligible students who plan to go to college will be provided with a network of support that ensures they have the guidance and resources they need to succeed and earn a degree that paves the path to a fulfilling career. DCPS graduates are connected with DCPS Persists coaches who help them navigate the transition to college and assist them with academic, financial and other resources available on their college campus. They will also check in with students regularly throughout their college experience.

“We’re excited to begin this partnership – our joined efforts in providing resources and support to underserved students from D.C. public schools who attend Marymount will undoubtedly have a transformative impact on their lives,” said Dr. William Bisset, Vice President for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at Marymount University. “We’ll also eliminate barriers that prevent many first-generation college students from achieving their ultimate goal of timely graduation and degree attainment.”

“I’m really happy to have a coach that will help me through my college studies and help me graduate successfully,” said Erica Lopez, a first-year student at Marymount studying Nursing. “It means a lot to be looked after by someone and cared for – I can’t wait for the years to come here at Marymount.”

Nearly 80 percent of jobs in the District of Columbia require some form of postsecondary education – however, only 38 percent of DCPS graduates earn a degree within six years if they enroll in college. DCPS Persists aims to increase the college graduation rate of its alumni by 10 percentage points.

“Marymount is a smart college choice for these students, who graduate from our University at a six-year rate of 61 percent – much higher than the average for all DCPS alumni,” explained Dr. Irma Becerra, President of Marymount University. “We’re delighted to increase the success of DCPS students through this partnership, and allow even more students from the nation’s capital to take advantage of the great educational experience that Marymount offers.”

The program will also offer college-bound graduates:

  • A pre-college orientation to get a head start on what to expect in college and meet other college-bound students
  • Access to the DCPS Alumni Network so that students can stay in touch with other graduates for tips, career networking and more
  • Access to a wealth of information on scholarships and other important college-focused content through Forever DCPS, a new monthly alumni publication

The program is the nation’s first college persistence initiative led by a traditional public school system. DCPS Persists is funded by the DC Public Education Fund through a generous investment from the A. James & Alice B. Clark Foundation.