Faculty Scholarly Dissemination Grants


The Economic Development Impact of Place-Based Scholarship Programs: Initial Results from Kalamazoo, Michigan


Political Science Department


College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Date Range



Social and Behavioral Sciences


Announced in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise is the first of a growing number of place-based scholarship programs that signal a new approach to local economic development. To date, more than 30 communities nationwide have replicated key elements of the program as they seek to expand access to higher education and revitalize their urban areas. A growing body of literature explores the impact of Promise programs on student achievement. Also well documented are enrollment effects, with the Kalamazoo Public Schools growing dramatically at a time when most other urban school districts are shrinking. However, no research to date has specified and quantified the other community-level effects of place-based scholarship programs. Stakeholders designing such programs are seeking to improve both educational and economic outcomes for their communities; this paper presents initial research suggesting whether this is a realistic goal. Findings are based on publicly available data as well as the results of a proprietary survey of business and civic leaders, a content analysis of local media, and a web site survey that measures how the Kalamazoo Promise is being used as a tool for marketing and recruitment.

Conference Name

MPSA Annual Conference

Conference Location

Chicago, IL

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