Behind the Headline: What If Students Got Free College Tuition? Study Examines Kalamazoo Promise

On Top of the News
What If Students Got Free College Tuition? Study Examines Kalamazoo Promise
6/25/15 | Christian Science Monitor

Behind the Headline
The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship
Spring 2014| Education Next

Announced in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise provides college scholarships to all graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS) who attend a public college in Michigan. The program is funded by anonymous donors.

A new study finds that the Kalamazoo Promise is boosting college enrollment and college success.

Prior to the Promise, about 36 percent of the relevant population of KPS graduates earned any postsecondary credential within six years of high school graduation; the new research estimates that the Promise increased this credential attainment by over one-third, so that 48 percent of eligible KPS graduates post-Promise have earned a credential within six years of high school graduation.

An earlier study published in Education Next looked at changes in the achievement and behavior of KPS students before and after they became aware of the scholarship. That study found evidence that the Promise reduced behavior problems for all students, and had a dramatic positive effect on the GPAs of African Americans.

By the third year after its announcement, the Promise:

• Increased the chances that a student earned any high school credits by 9 percentage points.
• Decreased the average number of days students spent in suspension by 1.8 days overall, and by 3 for African American students.
• Increased the GPAs of African American students by 0.7 grade points, or more than two-thirds of a letter grade.

– Education Next

Last Updated


Notify Me When Education Next

Posts a Big Story

Business + Editorial Office

Program on Education Policy and Governance
Harvard Kennedy School
79 JFK Street, Cambridge, MA 02138
Phone (617) 496-5488
Fax (617) 496-4428

For subscription service to the printed journal
Phone (617) 496-5488

Copyright © 2024 President & Fellows of Harvard College