How Kalamazoo Is Fine-Tuning Its Groundbreaking Free College Program

Posted On: Sep 12, 2019   |   Posted By: Politico

How Kalamazoo Is Fine-Tuning Its Groundbreaking Free College Program

Alexia Jones was in fourth grade in 2005, when anonymous donors in her hometown of Kalamazoo, Mich., made an extraordinary commitment. They established a scholarship program, the Kalamazoo Promise , to pay for a free college education for students like Jones once they graduated from Kalamazoo's public schools. “I knew my mom was not going to be able to put me through college, because she didn't have much money,” says Jones, the youngest of her single mother's five kids. “But because I did have the Promise, my dreams and the things I wanted to do would be possible, as long as I did what I needed to do in school and actually graduate.” Last year, Jones, now 23, got a tuition-free bachelor's degree in psychology from Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo. With her graduation, Jones became one of more than 6,200 students from Kalamazoo who have benefited from the groundbreaking program that has inspired more than 200 place-based scholarships nationwide. But it's her current job that reflects the ways...

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