Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Understanding State and Local College Promise Programs

Over the past decade, but especially in the past few years, programs with a promise label have been advanced at the local, state, and federal levels. To advance understanding of the design, implementation, and impact of the many different versions of emerging programs, policymakers, practitioners, and researchers need an organizing framework.

To address this knowledge need, this study uses descriptive and cluster analyses of 289 programs that meet the following criteria: have a primary goal of increasing higher education attainment, promise a financial award to eligible students, have some “place” requirement, and focus on the traditional college-age population.

Results suggest that state- versus non-state sponsorship, financial award structure (e.g., first/last dollar), type of postsecondary educational institutions at which the award may be used, and eligibility criteria (universal vs. merit or need) are important differentiators among programs.

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