A new study on the Kalamazoo Promise, a program that offers free state-college tuition to graduates of the Michigan city’s high schools, finds that the financial incentive encourages students to work harder and aim for college.
Published last month in Arizona State University’s Education Policy Analysis Archives, the study is based on interviews conducted in Kalamazoo’s high schools in 2008, three years after the Kalamazoo Promise began.
Students noted improved perceptions of how their teachers were working with them, such as pushing them harder to do well. They also reported skipping class less, seeking academic help more often, and encouraging friends to “stay on the right track” to college.
Teachers said that, while the incentive sparked more of a shared sense of purpose among staff members and prompted teachers to offer students more academic support, they weren’t optimistic that it would improve college-going rates.
A version of this article appeared in the July 13, 2011 edition of Education Week as Tuition Guarentee