POLICY BRIEF: How Harper College Established Its Promise

In 2015, William Rainey Harper College, a large community college in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago, worked in partnership with its three feeder high school districts to implement the Harper College Promise Scholarship Program (“Promise”) to incentivize a path to postsecondary and workforce readiness for students in these schools. The Promise Program, supported through a […]

POLICY BRIEF: What Can States Learn from Local College Promise Programs?

Since the Tennessee Promise was launched in 2014, statewide tuition-free college scholarships, often called College Promise programs, have proliferated. These programs are distinct from an earlier generation of merit-based scholarship programs, such as the Georgia Hope Scholarship, in that they seek to make at least two years of college tuition-free for a broad segment of […]

“Free College:” Here to Stay?

By Jen Mishory, Century Foundation Free college, or “Promise” programs—a model of student aid that covers at least full tuition costs for a subset of a given state’s residents—have received a significant boost in the past few years. A central question has been whether the model benefits from more consistent political support over time as […]

REPORT: How Does Last-Dollar Financial Aid Affect First-Year Student Outcomes? Evidence from the Bridging the Gap Study

The second report in this series provides a mixed-methods look at the inaugural Bridging the Gap cohort’s first full year of college, complementing analysis of enrollment and academic performance data with insights from student interviews. Early results suggest positive impacts on enrollment among lower-income students, although it is unclear whether observed improvements in academic performance […]

REPORT: The Future of Statewide College Promise Programs

This report first identifies and analyzes the range of design choices made by states and the challenges and opportunities created by those choices, finding that states that have enacted Promise programs since 2014 have imposed significant eligibility requirements. It then provides guiding principles to help states considering future Promise programs to avoid inequitable cost containment […]

Design Sustainable Funding for College Promise

College promise programs are spreading throughout this United States. These programs fund tuition and/or fees for eligible students who are actively progressing toward earning postsecondary certificates and undergraduate degrees. While existing college promise programs have varying designs, each one appears to be seeking continuous and long-term financial sustainability. The existing programs appear to be aimed […]

Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans

Over the course of the past few decades, student loans have become an increasingly common means of paying for a college education. Most students who complete a college program now take on student loans, and the amount of student debt that students assume has increased along with the price of attending college. At this time […]

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