Panel: The Effects of Universal Place-Based "Promise" Scholarships On Academic and Economic Outcomes

Saturday, November 10, 2012: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
International E (Sheraton Baltimore City Center Hotel)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Organizers:  Gary Ritter, University of Arkansas
Moderators:  Michelle Miller-Adams, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Matea Pender, The College Board
Chairs:  Jessica Howell, The College Board

Promise, or place-based, scholarships have emerged in the last seven years as a strategy to promote postsecondary attainment and economic development in economically stagnant communities. Promise scholarships guarantee a scholarship to cover a fixed amount or percentage of post-secondary tuition to any student who has continuously attended and graduates high school from the school district and meets minimum academic requirements, typically a minimum GPA of 2.0. Though the original Kalamazoo Promise was funded by private donors, some of the new universal scholarship programs are supported through public funding. Since the announcement of the first Promise scholarship in Kalamazoo, MI in 2005, at least 24 areas around the country have started or attempted to start several similar Promise programs. Other areas where Promise scholarships have been implemented include Peoria (IN), El Dorado (AR), Pittsburgh, Milwaukee, and New Haven. This panel includes the first generation of the evaluation of the effects of these programs for students and the overall communities. Outcomes examined include academic outcomes, such as high school graduation and college enrollment rates, and economic outcomes, such as enrollment in the school district. The studies evaluate Promise scholarship programs in various stages of development using various methods, including a randomized control trial (Milwaukee), student-level matching (El Dorado, AR), regression discontinuity and difference-in-difference (Kalamazoo and Pittsburgh). In addition, this panel includes a chair and discussant who has written extensively on the effects of place-based scholarships. By compiling the existing rigorous research on this topic, this panel will provide an instructive assessment of the value and effectiveness of universal, place-based scholarships.

The Short-Term Effects of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship On Student Outcomes
Timothy Bartik, W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research and Marta Lachowska, W.E. Upjohn Institute

The Effects of the El Dorado Promise Scholarship On Academic and Economic Outcomes
Gary Ritter1, Jennifer Ash2, Martin Lueken1 and Lindsay Melia1, (1)University of Arkansas, (2)Abt Associates, Inc.

Using a Merit-Based Scholarship Program to Increase Rates of College Enrollment
Gabriella Gonzalez, Robert Bozick and John Engberg, RAND Corporation

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