Study: Private College Aid Improves Grades for African American Students

Published March 3, 2014

African-American students in Kalamazoo, Michigan who received college scholarships based on how many years they attended school in the district had fewer behavior problems and higher GPAs by two-thirds of a letter grade over the average of comparable students, a new study finds.

“Policies focused on making higher education more affordable may be usefully supplemented by helping students better understand how their behavior affects their future,” the study authors conclude.

The scholarships, funded by anonymous donors, are available to all public school students in the district. Students who start in Kalamazoo in kindergarten receive 100 percent of the costs to attend any Michigan college or university for four years. The scholarship declines by 5 percent each year a student has not attended school in the district, stopping at 65 percent in ninth grade.

To receive the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarships, students must get admitted to a Michigan college, take at least 12 credits, and maintain a 2.0 college GPA. For a typical student, the total value of the scholarship ranges from $18,000 to $27,000.

Learn more:
“The Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship,” Education Next, February 2014:

—Staff reports

Image by Gov. Patrick’s Office.