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Interviews with news makers and discussion of topics important to Southwest Michigan. Subscribe to the podcast through Apple itunes and Google. Segments of interview are heard in WestSouthwest Brief during Morning Edition and All Things Considered

WSW: The Growth, Structure And Benefit Of "Promise" Programs (Rebroadcast)

Kalamazoo Promise sign - file photo from WMUK
WMUK
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Since the Kalamazoo Promise was unveiled in 2005, several communities across the county have launched their own college scholarship programs. But they vary in how they are designed, and that leads to different educational and economic benefits.

Researchers at the Upjohn Institute for Employment Research in Kalamazoo examined the effects of "Promise" scholarship programs on prosperity in the communities where they are launched. Upjohn Institute Senior Researcher Michelle Miller-Adams and Research Fellow Ed Smith joined WMUK’s Gordon Evans for an interview that originally aired in November.

Miller-Adams says the design of a universal scholarship program like the Kalamazoo Promise can help strengthen the school district. The Kalamazoo Promise has paid tuition and fees at university or community college Michigan for graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools since it started in 2005. Several private colleges were added in 2014. Smith says other programs may be aimed at workforce development and therefore may be limited to community colleges in the area.

Cities and school districts of all sizes have started their own version of the Promise. Smith says their research shows that small to mid-size communities are most likely to benefit from a college scholarship program. Miller-Adams says the benefit to local prosperity isn’t likely to be as great in a large city.

Gordon Evans became WMUK's Content Director in 2019 after more than 20 years as an anchor, host and reporter. A 1990 graduate of Michigan State, he began work at WMUK in 1996.
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