Kevin Durant’s recent $10 million pledge to expand a college program in partnership with Prince George’s County Schools naturally drew national attention.
That’s to be expected: An NBA all-star known for investing in Silicon Valley teaming up with Laurene Powell Jobs on a program to help disadvantaged students go to college is a feel-good story any day.
But the College Track program is not just any program. While many programs aimed at boosting college enrollment try to reach as many students as possible, College Track puts a lot of resources into a smaller handful — and expects a lot out of them in return.
Starting the summer before ninth grade, the after-school program gives disadvantaged students in Prince George’s County the advantages some of their peers have: tutoring, preparing for tests, leadership training, signing up for a summer experience to broaden their horizons, choosing a college and getting financial aid. The program does not end until they’ve graduated from college.
The first of its kind on the East Coast, College Track has seen about 90 percent of seniors in its program enter college and has twice the average national graduation rate for low-income students.
As part of the donation, the Durant Center will be built in Seat Pleasant, about six miles from Hyattsville, which is where the College Track program will be housed. It will be one of three facilities like it planned for the area.