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Study Supports Detroit Promise Path’s Effectiveness in Boosting Student Success

“Providing Detroit high schools students access to college is one part of a solution to ensure student success,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “It is equally important to understand and address the barriers students face in order to help them persist in college.” 

The Chamber and Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) released a study conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit education research firm, supporting the effectiveness of the Detroit Promise Path in increasing student success in community college. The Detroit Promise Path was created in 2016 to help Detroit Promise scholarship students navigate various hardships common for first-generation college students from underserved communities.

The Detroit Promise Path Alleviates Barriers for Underserved Students

(From left to right) Detroit Promise Success Coach Ashley Robinson, Detroit Promise student Preston Welborne El, Detroit Promise student Ronnie Foster, and the former Detroit Promise Path Manager Monica Rodriguez discuss the program and results at the Michigan College Promise Symposium last month.

While college access is one part of a solution to ensure student success, it is equally important to understand and address the barriers students face in order to help them prosper and graduate. The Detroit Promise Path uses four strategies to help students stay in college: it requires campus coaching, offers a monthly financial stipend for expenses not covered by financial aid (i.e. transportation, food, books), encourages students to take summer classes, and uses a management information system to track and monitor students.

Detroit As a Leader in College Promise Scholarship Programs 
Since 2005, more than 300 college scholarship programs across the country have been created to help students afford college costs. However, most college promise scholarships focus on getting students to enroll in college, not helping them succeed once they get there.

When the Detroit Promise launched in 2013, the Chamber noticed that only 35% of students stayed enrolled. In 2016, the Detroit Promise Path was created to help students progress and graduate.

“The effects of the Detroit Promise Path on persistence and full-time enrollment in the second semester are among the largest we’ve seen in rigorous tests of higher education interventions,” said Alexander Mayer, deputy director of postsecondary education at MDRC.

Download the Report 
Download the MDRC report, “A Path from Access to Success: Interim Findings from the Detroit Promise Path Evaluation,” read an article in The Detroit News on the findings, and watch a video on the Detroit Promise Path. The Detroit Promise Path and study are funded by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) with additional support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and The Kresge Foundation.

Results from the MDRC report on the effects of the Detroit Promise Path program to ensure success for community college students.