The Detroit Promise, administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, allows the city’s high school graduates to attend local colleges tuition-free. The community college scholarship program covers any difference between financial aid and tuition for up to three years at five area community colleges: Henry Ford College, Macomb Community College, Oakland Community College, Schoolcraft College, and Wayne County Community College. Although the program helps Detroit’s students enroll in college, too few stay in school and graduate.

Early findings from the first year are promising:

  • Detroit Promise Path was implemented with fidelity to the model and participation was high.
  • Students appreciate the program. Ninety-six percent of surveyed students who had been in contact with a coach said the program was “valuable” or “very valuable” to them.
  • The program had a sizable impact on enrollment in the second semester and on full-time enrollment in the first and second semesters.

In addition to the Detroit Promise, MDRC is launching a partnership with the Los Angeles Promise in 2017. MDRC welcomes other Promise programs seeking to move from access to success.

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