The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship, a program designed to expand college access in Kalamazoo, Mich., is having a positive impact on student behavior and completion of high school courses, new research finds.
The data also show that eligible African-American students saw their high school grades improve.
Since 2006, anonymous donors have promised to help pay college tuition and fees for graduates of Kalamazoo public schools, with the award’s size depending on how long the student has been enrolled. For those who attend district schools from kindergarten until 12th grade, 100 percent of tuition is covered.
The program has helped 85 percent of graduates pay for college, according to the study, published last week in the journal Education Next. The study examined data for students in grades 9-12 from 2003-04 to 2007-08.
It notes that, with the advent of the program, the number of students earning high school credits increased by 9 percentage points. The number of days a student was suspended dropped by 1.3 days in the second year after the announcement and 1.8 days the next; and GPAs increased slightly, but not in a statistically significant way. For African-American students, GPAs increased by 0.2 points the first year, 0.3 points the next, and 0.7 points in year three.
A version of this article appeared in the February 26, 2014 edition of Education Week as Scholarship Incentives