New WWC Quick Review on study of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship

by May 18, 2014 0 comments

The study examined the impact of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship on high school students’ academic and behavioral outcomes. Depending on how long the student had attended Kalamazoo Public Schools (KPS), the scholarship would cover up to 100 percent of tuition and fees for attending any public college or university in the state of Michigan. The authors hypothesized that the promise of such a scholarship might have an effect on students’ high school outcomes. The study focused on students who attended KPS schools from ninth grade through graduation. The authors compared the differences in academic and behavioral outcomes in high school before and after introduction of the Promise Scholarship for students who would be eligible to receive it (if they were accepted to a public Michigan college or university) and those who would not (because they had not attended school in the district for long enough to qualify).

What did the study report?

The authors reported that the scholarship had a statistically significant positive impact on the probability of earning any high school credits and a statistically significant reduction in the number of times students were suspended per year. There were no statistically significant differences in grade point average, the number of high school credits earned, the probability of being suspended, the probability of being in detention, or the number of days spent in detention.


How does the WWC rate this study?

This study does not meet WWC group design standards because the authors did not establish baseline equivalence of the analytic samples. As a result, the WWC cannot determine whether the differences in student outcomes were attributable to the Promise Scholarship program.


Bartik, T. J., & Lachowska, M. (2013). The short-term effects of the Kalamazoo Promise Scholarship on student outcomes. In S. W. Polachek & K. Tatsiramos (Eds.), New analysis of worker well-being research in labor economics (Vol. 38, pp. 37-76). Bingley, United Kingdom: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.

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