Promise scholarships are being offered in eight of the 10 areas designated as Michigan Promise Zones. Programs are being developed in Jackson and Muskegon. All comply with the requirements of the state's Promise Zone statutes. As such, they provide scholarships to all students who both live within the zone's boundaries and graduate from a high school located within those boundaries. All must also provide a scholarship that gives students a tuition (and mandatory fee) free path to at least an associate’s degree at one institution. Communities can elect to provide more, up to and including a BA degree.
Here is a brief look at how the scholarships work:
Welcome to PromiseZones.org, and the story of 10 Michigan communities committed to sending more young people to college, attracting new families, strengthening neighborhoods, building stronger talent pools and attracting new investment.
The Promise communities are inspired by the success of the Kalamazoo Promise, the nation’s first universal scholarship program for an entire community. Michigan is the first state in the nation to promote the creation of "place-based" scholarship initiatives to increase educational attainment and spur economic growth in a community. Kalamazoo benefited from a few incredibly generous donors. Michigan's Promise Zone communities are working to deliver similar Promise scholarships through private donations small and large, and, later, by growth in property tax revenue.
Eight of the Promise communities have already begun awarding scholarships, and others will soon follow. Educators, businesses, families and civic leaders are striving to embed a pervasive culture of learning in their community—an essential ingredient in any recipe for education success.
While no panacea, Promise scholarship initiatives speak directly to some of the most critical problems we face in our society. They will help disadvantaged students close the achievement gap, assist cities in retaining and attracting middle-class families, and draw knowledge-based businesses to distressed urban communities.
The Promise communities are charting a new path to a better educated workforce and a stronger economy, and there is no reason the potential of this idea should be limited to just one state. If Promise Zones can help build a better Michigan, other states can surely benefit as well when they unlock the power of the Promise—educational opportunity for all.