The Kalamazoo Promise, an anonymous benefactor, is providing four-year-scholarships to almost all of the students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools.
One student from Kalamazoo Central High School, Jay Valikodath, said the Promise changed his and his classmates’ lives, because they'll be able to start their careers after college debt free.
Bob Jorth, the director of the Kalamazoo Promise, says they have covered 43 state-supported community colleges and universities in Michigan. They are partnering with the Michigan Colleges Alliance, which will add 15 private colleges and universities in Michigan.
The Promise will cover tuition at colleges with the same average tuition rate as the University of Michigan’s College of Literature Arts and Sciences. Anything beyond that will be covered by the institution.
The promise has paid more than $54 million in tuition for 3,286 students, not including this current school year.
A total of 679 of those students earned associates, bachelors, or some form of post-secondary education degree. That’s a little more than 20% of those who have received grants.
“The biggest challenge is completion,” Jorth said. “The No. 1 factor in getting kids through college is making sure they are ready to start college.”
Jorth added that the main goal is to get as many students as possible pursue a post-secondary education.
*Listen to full interview above.
-Bre'Anna Tinsley, Michigan Radio Newsroom.