The Upjohn Institute plays a leading role in research and evaluation of place-based scholarship programs locally and nationally.
What is a Promise scholarship
Since 2005, close to 100 communities and a growing number of states have created scholarship programs based on location. While these vary in structure, they all seek to increase access to higher education, transform local K-12 school districts, and contribute to the vitality of their communities. Many of these programs were inspired by the Kalamazoo Promise.
Promise programs are found throughout the United States. They share some common features but vary from each other in many ways, including student eligibility, where students may use their scholarships, and how much money is awarded. The Institute maintains a database that tracks these and other features of the growing population of Promise programs.
Evaluating Promise programs
Despite their rapid growth, relatively few Promise programs have been evaluated. Among those that have been studied (usually the older, larger, and more generous programs), researchers have generally found increases in school district enrollment and college-going. Some programs have also been found to increase college completion and raise property values, and there are plans underway to study workforce outcomes. Research studies of Promise programs are organized by community as well as by type of outcome.
Because Promise programs vary considerably, it is important to use a common conceptual framework when evaluating them. With some of our research partners, we have developed a Promise Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that can help in this effort. The Kalamazoo Promise has been studied more extensively than any other Promise program, and the Upjohn Institute has conducted most of these studies.
Kalamazoo Promise data
The Upjohn Institute tracks several usage and success measures of the Kalamazoo Promise. Data can be viewed or downloaded here; these tables are updated annually.