Since the announcement of the Kalamazoo Promise in 2005, dozens of communities around the nation have created their own place-based scholarship programs.
In 2005, a group of anonymous donors pioneered the nation’s first universal, place-based college scholarship—the Kalamazoo Promise. Thanks to the Promise, students who attend Kalamazoo Public Schools from kindergarten through high school graduation can receive full-tuition scholarships to earn a college degree or certificate at any of Michigan’s public colleges or universities, plus 15 of the state’s private liberal-arts colleges.
The Promise is intended in part to create incentives for current residents to remain in Kalamazoo and to draw new families to the area. Between 2005 and 2014, enrollment in the Kalamazoo Public Schools increased by almost 24 percent. Read more about the Kalamazoo Promise.
The Upjohn Institute plays a leading role in research, evaluation and community mobilization efforts related to the Kalamazoo Promise.
Upjohn researchers have used the knowledge gained from Kalamazoo’s experience to help more than 20 communities determine the feasibility and costs of creating similar Promise programs.
Since 2008, the Upjohn Institute has been involved in the planning of PromiseNet, a networking and learning opportunity that brings together Promise community stakeholders to share best practices around designing, implementing, and sustaining place-based scholarship programs. Here are links to material from some of the previous meetings of PromiseNet as well as to PromiseNet 2015, which was held during November in Kalamazoo.
The Upjohn Institute has also been instrumental in convening researchers who study place-based scholarship programs. With a grant from the Lumina Foundation in 2014, the institute has helped launch the Promise Research Consortium. More information is available here.