Poster Paper: Promises Fulfilled? Estimating the Academic Effects of Promise Programs

Friday, November 4, 2016
Columbia Ballroom (Washington Hilton)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Elise Swanson, Malachi Nichols and Angela Watson, University of Arkansas

In this systematic review, we examine the quantitative impacts of promise programs and delineate the characteristics of promise programs that make them more or less effective and explore which subgroups of students are most impacted by promise programs, and compare the average effect of promise programs on economically disadvantaged students as compared to non-economically disadvantaged students, and students of color as compared to white students. We look at the effect of promise programs on two areas: student academic achievement and community development.

In this review, we look at studies measuring the impact of a place-based scholarship on at least one of the following outcome measures: 1) high school graduation; 2) high school academic performance; 3) college attendance; 4) college retention/graduation; 5) school enrollment or city population growth; and 6) housing prices.

Further, we examine the universe of currently operating promise programs, and do not exclude studies of promise programs based on the program’s characteristics. However, we are particularly interested in any differential effects of promise programs based on their specific characteristics. For that reason, we conduct subgroup analyses to compare universal promise programs to need-based and merit-based promise programs, programs that cover any post-secondary institutions to those that cover only a small group of public institutions, and programs that include college GPA requirements to those that do not.

            Using meta-analytic techniques to estimate an effect size for each of our outcomes of interest: high school graduation rates, high school academic performance, college enrollment, college retention, and college graduation, we are able to delineate the characteristics of promise programs that make them more or less effective, and for which students they have the greatest effects, providing greater clarity on the academic impacts of promise programs on the students in the areas covered by promise programs.