Making Promises: Designing College Promise Plans Worth Keeping

Making Promises: Designing College Promise Plans Worth Keeping

Michael Dannenberg and Konrad Mugglestone correctly observe that, “nearly every Democrat — and likely a number of Republicans — running for office statewide this cycle will propose some sort of college affordability plan. If those plans are going to deliver as promised and not backfire on large numbers of students, families, and taxpayers, they need to be designed to promote college degree completion —ideally, on-time degree completion.”

In their policy brief titled, “Making Promises: Designing College Promise Plans Worth Keeping,” Dannenberg and Mugglestone recommend that such programs should support  “improved college affordability to improve high school student academic preparation, cover costs beyond tuition and fees at all public colleges, assure institutions of higher education are genuine partners in boosting completion, and reduce the risk of student debt for the lowest income families especially.” The authors outline five key questions that policymakers must address to build effective and successful programs.

  1. Does the plan leverage improvements in high school academic preparation and college selection or is it only focused on financial aid?
  2. Does the plan cover both two-year and four-year public colleges or does it channel students into one public sector over the other?
  3. Does the plan cover all college costs, including room and board living expenses, books, and supplies or does it only cover tuition and fees?
  4. Does the plan support college e orts to boost completion and hold colleges accountable for results? Or, is it just a student aid increase?
  5. Does the plan cover all families, provide additional aid to only middle-income families, or target those from low-income families?

Download: Making Promises: Designing College Promise Plans Worth Keeping

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