Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships

The Upjohn Institute plays a leading role in research and evaluation of place-based scholarship programs locally and nationally.

This page brings together resources related to the growing population of place-based scholarship—or "promise"—programs, including the Kalamazoo Promise.


Since 2005, close to 100 communities and a growing number of states have created scholarship programs based on location. While these vary in structure, they all seek to increase access to higher education, transform local K-12 school districts, and contribute to the vitality of their communities. Many of these programs were inspired by the Kalamazoo Promise.

Where are Promise programs found


Promise programs are found throughout the United States. They share some common features but vary from each other in many ways, including student eligibility, where students may use their scholarships, and how much money is awarded. The Institute maintains a database that tracks these and other features of the growing population of Promise programs.


Despite their rapid growth, relatively few Promise programs have been evaluated. Among those that have been studied (usually the older, larger, and more generous programs), researchers have generally found increases in school district enrollment and college-going. Some programs have also been found to increase college completion and raise property values, and there are plans underway to study workforce outcomes. Research studies of Promise programs are summarized here, organized by community as well as by  type of outcome.

Because Promise programs vary considerably, it is important to use a common conceptual framework when evaluating them. With some of our research partners, we have developed a Promise Monitoring and Evaluation Framework that can help in this effort.

The Kalamazoo Promise has been studied more extensively than any other Promise program, and the Upjohn Institute has conducted most of these studies.


The Upjohn Institute tracks several usage and success measures of the Kalamazoo Promise. Data can be viewed or downloaded here; these tables are updated annually.


Since 2007, the Upjohn Institute has convened Promise stakeholders to learn from each other at annual PromiseNet conferences.

Research Consortium
The Upjohn Institute regularly convenes researchers to share knowledge and undertake collaborative studies. Research Consortium participants have investigated post-secondary outcomes of Promise programs with funding from Lumina Foundation, and are currently investigating workforce outcomes of Promise programs with funding from Strada Education Network.

College Promise Research Network
Institute staff members serve on the steering committee of the national College Promise Research Network, currently in the planning stages.


The Upjohn Institute consults with communities around the design, feasibility, and cost of place-based scholarship programs.

Featured Publications
Promise Nation: Transforming Communities through Place-Based Scholarships

Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships Experts

  • Early Childhood, K-12 Education, Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships, Job Security & Unemployment Dynamics, Local Labor Markets, Regional Policy & Planning
  • Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships
  • Early Childhood, K-12 Education, Postsecondary Education, Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships, Job Security & Unemployment Dynamics, Work & Family Balance, Poverty & Income Support, Job Skills & Standards
  • Kalamazoo Promise & Place-Based Scholarships

For More Information

            Contact: Justin Carinci