Assessing the Value of Promise Scholarship Programs

Project Dates

07/01/2012 - 06/30/2013


The purpose of this project was to support the research and writing of a book assessing the value of place-based (“Promise”) scholarship programs. Since the first such program was announced in Kalamazoo in 2005, this model has been replicated to one degree or another in many different settings. Yet there have been only limited efforts to evaluate the impact of existing Promise programs and virtually no comparative work examining different approaches to designing and implementing place-based scholarships. The project addressed this gap through a study of place-based scholarship programs designed to inform practitioners, policymakers, grant-makers, and the general public. The key objectives of this research were to determine whether there was empirical support for the perceived benefits of place-based scholarship programs, assess the impact of Promise programs on educational inequality, and make fact-based recommendations to communities about the design of Promise programs, especially regarding the question of universal v. merit-based criteria. Research will extend beyond the grant period and is expected to culminate in the publication of a book in 2015, the tenth anniversary of the Kalamazoo Promise.


The Impact of the Kalamazoo Promise on College Choice: An Analysis of Kalamazoo Area Math and Science Center Graduates, Michelle Miller-Adams, Bridget Timmeney. Upjohn Policy Paper No. 2013-014 (2013)

The Kalamazoo Promise and Changing Perceptions of the Kalamazoo Public Schools, Michelle Miller-Adams, Jenna Fiore. Upjohn Policy Paper No. 2013-016 (2013

The Economic Development Impact of Place-Based Scholarship Programs: Initial Results from Kalamazoo, Michigan, Michelle Miller-Adams (2013)


W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Subject Area

EDUCATION; Postsecondary education; Promise scholarships