Detroit Promise Path Boosts Full-Time Enrollment, Persistence, and Credit Accumulation by Detroit Community College Students

The first-year effects are among the largest seen in higher ed evaluation research
(Detroit, April 24, 2019) — A study conducted by MDRC, a nonprofit, nonpartisan research firm, shows that the Detroit Promise Path increases the likelihood that students will enroll full time, persist in school, attend summer sessions, and earn more credits. The Detroit Promise Path is a program put in place by the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with MDRC that adds evidence-based college support services to the promise scholarship model. The study was released at the Michigan College Promise Symposium, a gathering of business, education and government leaders.

The Detroit Promise Path provides students with campus coaches and financial stipends to help them both successfully enroll in college and persist beyond the first semester. Results from MDRC’s rigorous random assignment evaluation show that Detroit Promise Path has particularly strong effects in the first year. For example:

  • Student participants were 8.1 percentage points more likely to enroll in their second semester than students who received the scholarship but did not participate in the Path program (62.7% vs. 54.6%) — and 10.3 percentage points more likely to enroll full time (32.9% vs. 22.6%).
  •  Student participants were nearly three times more likely to enroll in the summer session their first year (20.5% vs. 7.0%). Research has shown that students who enroll in summer courses are more likely to persist and graduate.
  • Perhaps most notably, students were nearly twice as likely to complete 24 or more credits their first year (10.8% vs. 5.6%), an important marker of being on a successful path to completion.
  • Students reported positive experiences in the program, especially in their relationships with their coaches.

“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, who presented the results at the Michigan College Promise Symposium. “It’s good news for the larger College Promise field, and we look forward to learning whether these results persist and eventually translate into higher graduation rates for Detroit Promise Path students overall.”

Although it is too early to reach a conclusion about the effects in the second year of the study, the early findings are encouraging. Based on data from the first group of enrollees in Detroit Promise Path, second-year findings are positive, but not all are statistically significant and the effect on credits earned is smaller.

“Providing Detroit high schools students access to college is one part of a solution to ensuring student success. It is equally important to understand and address the barriers students in order to help them persist in college,” said Sandy Baruah, president and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “The MDRC results on the program are promising, and we look forward to continuing to remove barriers to education for Detroiters.”

“We at the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) are thrilled at the results of the evaluation of the Detroit Promise Program. Our goal from the beginning is to ensure that every student has the opportunity for a postsecondary education and for the support needed for success. Working with our partner funders like the Kellogg Foundation and others, we’re pleased their investment has yielded this kind of success and that the program has quickly become a national model,” said Peter Remington, president of Michigan Education Excellence Foundation.

“We know that access to quality higher education is a critical pathway for economic mobility. The Detroit Promise Path program demonstrates that an evidence-based approach can lead to improved student outcomes, and open more opportunities for more Americans,” said Michele Jolin, CEO, and co-founder of Results for America, a national nonprofit that helps decision-makers at all levels of government harness the power of evidence and data to solve problems.

The study was unveiled and discussed during the National College Promise Symposium at the Detroit Regional Chamber in partnership with the College Promise Campaign, The Kresge Foundation and United Way for Southeastern Michigan.

“Michigan is a leader in college promise programs, and it again has provided valuable insights. Our national partners will be examining this research to better understand how we can all create more support that can bolster student persistence and completion. Closing the guidance gap is key to creating a college-going culture,” says Martha Kanter, executive director, College Promise Campaign. The nonprofit, nonpartisan campaign reports that supporters have started over 300 college promise programs in 44 states, with over 20 states having statewide promise programs.

“MDRC’s analysis of the Detroit Promise Path provides critical proof points demonstrating that well-targeted student supports alongside reduced financial barriers are at the heart of improving student outcomes,” said Bill Moses, managing director of The Kresge Foundation’s Education Program. “Student success is central to our mission at Kresge and we are proud to support research that illuminates effective methods of helping more students from low-income households and students of color succeed in college.”

“A postsecondary degree can be a game changer for young people and their families,” said Dr. Darienne Driver Hudson, president and CEO, United Way for Southeastern Michigan. “It is critical that our high-school-focused investments in College and Career Pathways serve as a bridge to postsecondary opportunities. As this report demonstrates, access to wraparound supports are integral to ensuring children are equipped to compete in today’s global economy.”

The new report, A Path from Access to Success: Interim Findings from the Detroit Promise Path Evaluation, is available on MDRC’s website. MDRC also released a report from its College Promise Success Initiative describing ways in which promise programs have designed and implemented similar student support components to boost student success. The report points to several tools on MDRC’s website that promise programs around the nation can use to improve their own offerings to students.

The Detroit Promise Path program and evaluation are primarily funded by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation, with additional support from W.K. Kellogg Foundation, The Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, and The Kresge Foundation. The Detroit Promise Path evaluation is affiliated with MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative, which is funded by Ascendium Education Group.

View or download the full study.

Contacts:
• John Hutchins, MDRC, 212-340-8604, john.hutchins@mdrc.org
• Kelly Weatherwax, Detroit Regional Chamber, 313-596-0360, kweatherwax@detroitchamber.com

Foundations help set agenda at Mackinac Policy Conference

April 14, 2019

Crain’s Detroit Business

Sherri Welch

[…]

At this year’s conference set for May 28-31, foundations are hosting — that is, sponsoring and presenting — six of nine sessions on the agenda.

That’s up from five the past two years, four in 2014, two in 2013 and just one in 2012: by the Battle Creek-based W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Even more foundations (and others) would come in, if there were space on the agenda and at the Grand Hotel, chamber COO Tammy Carnrike said.

Kellogg is returning to this year’s conference along with Kresge Foundation, Skillman Foundation, C.S. Mott Foundation, Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation and the William Davidson Foundation, a newcomer to the hosted sessions in 2019.

Like other sessions at the conference, the foundation-hosted events align with the conference pillars.

This year’s conference theme, “One Michigan,” will focus on the pillars “prepare, grow and love.”

More specifically, sessions will focus on education and talent development/retention, entrepreneurial and economic development and stewardship and sustainability of the resources, industries and other assets Michigan currently has.

Foundations use the sessions as a forum to release new studies and research, explore topics of regional and statewide importance and leverage their connections to feature national speakers on important topics, Carnrike said, sponsoring programs that wouldn’t otherwise happen.

“They have the ability to see where there are other experts they can bring in from other areas of the country (and) where other regions are doing well and bring those experts in to share their experience and their best practice.”

The foundation hosts contribute to valuable conversation, attracting standing-room only crowds to their sessions due to strong content and speakers, Carnrike said.

Given that, the chamber has invited them to help plan the conference and to take part in mainstage programs, Carnrike said.

For example, Skillman President and CEO Tonya Allen will participate in a panel discussion on boosting education excellence in Michigan.

Government is at the conference to speak out from a policy standpoint and business to speak on economic issues, Carnrike said.

“To have the philanthropic community … be there to say, ‘We are also part of the solution, here’s the work we do and resources we’re bringing to it’ … really helps solidify what gets discussed in their sessions.”

Foundations and other hosts are still finalizing topics for their sessions, but three have working themes, said Kelly Weatherwax, director of communications for the Detroit Regional Chamber.

Those are:

  • C.S. Mott Foundation will focus on transforming municipal funding.
  • W.K. Kellogg Foundation will focus on the 2020 Census.
  • William Davidson Foundation’s session will focus on the Detroit region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.

View the full article here.

W.K. Kellogg Foundation Gives Promise to Detroit Youth

  • WKKF awards $3.5 million to support Detroit Promise, a tuition free path to college available to all Detroit high school graduates.
  • The grant will support attendance to 22 participating 2-year and 4-year colleges and also will pay for “Promise Path” counselors to work with students to help ensure their academic success.
  • Students have until June 30, 2017, to apply at www.DetroitPromise.com.

DETROIT — A W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF) grant to Detroit Promise will support thousands of Detroit high school graduates with tuition and services as they pursue a college education over the next three years.

The $3.5 million WKKF grant is part of a collaborative effort by the State of Michigan and the City of Detroit to help ensure that Detroit youth have the opportunity to pursue a college education and prepare for 21st century careers through the Detroit Promise, a program administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation. It is part of a $30 million campaign led by the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF), which seeks to shepherd the program through a critical time of transition and development.

The grant will support the 2-year and 4-year scholarship program to meet anticipated growth in demand. It also will support efforts to enhance retention rates so that more students successfully obtain degrees and certificates.

“I greatly appreciate the support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation in leading efforts to fund scholarships for the Detroit Promise,” Gov. Rick Snyder said. “This community is providing increased educational opportunities that students here didn’t have previously, which is critical for their future success and for the future of Detroit.”

Under the leadership of Snyder, MEEF has raised nearly $10 million in seed money to initiate the scholarship program, established in 2013 and formerly known as the Detroit Scholarship Fund.
The program has helped more than 2,200 students attend college; support from WKKF will ensure that the scholarship and supportive programs are fully developed and available to Detroit youth as public funding becomes available during the next couple of years under the Detroit Promise Zone, a tax capture program initiated by Mayor Mike Duggan.

“The support of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation will bring Detroit Promise closer to becoming a permanent part of the city’s effort to remove barriers to opportunity for young Detroiters,” Duggan said. “This grant will help transform more young lives.”

Students have until June 30 to apply for the promise for the fall 2017 semester. Students can apply at www.DetroitPromise.com.

The WKKF grant also will support a pilot of a new cutting-edge coaching program, Detroit Promise Path. The program supports full-time counselors who work one-on-one with Detroit Promise freshmen to stay enrolled and succeed at the five participating community colleges: Wayne County Community College District, Oakland Community College, Macomb Community College, Henry Ford College and Schoolcraft College.

The Detroit Promise Path “success coaches” meet regularly with Detroit Promise students, develop a supportive community for these students and work to help them reach their academic goals. As an example, the Detroit Promise Path program, including the installation of a success coach and student wrap-around services at Henry Ford College, was piloted this year with a grant from the Applebaum Family Foundation.

Working with Manpower Demonstration Research Corporation (MDRC), a nationally recognized research and policy organization, the goal of the program is to significantly increase college completion and graduation for low-income Detroit college students. Created in 1974 by the Ford Foundation and a group of federal agencies, MDRC is the primary implementation and research partner for Detroit Promise Path and will coordinate program and all research-related activities for the evaluation.

“Preliminary results (which will be released in early summer) are promising,” said Colleen Sommo, the lead researcher for MDRC. “Students who received the additional services were more likely to persist into their second semester and to enroll full time in both the first and second semesters than students who received only the scholarship.”

“The W.K. Kellogg Foundation investment will assure that more Detroit youth will enter college and successfully earn post-secondary degrees,” said Sandy Baruah, President and CEO of the Detroit Regional Chamber. “Thousands of young Detroit residents will be better prepared for and able to succeed in the 21st century global economy.”

This grant also will support the results and lessons drawn from the Detroit Promise Path pilot to educators across Michigan including the 17 universities partners who have joined Detroit Promise to provide qualified Detroit graduates a tuition free path to a four-year bachelor’s degree. Many universities run similar supportive support and coaching programs for scholarship students and those who are the first in their family to attend college. Thus, the work supported by WKKF will provide a replicable model that will benefit low-income, first time college students from across Michigan and across the country.

About W.K. Kellogg Foundation

The W.K. Kellogg Foundation (WKKF), founded in 1930 as an independent, private foundation by breakfast cereal pioneer, Will Keith Kellogg, is among the largest philanthropic foundations in the United States. Guided by the belief that all children should have an equal opportunity to thrive, WKKF works with communities to create conditions for vulnerable children so they can realize their full potential in school, work and life. The Kellogg Foundation is based in Battle Creek, Michigan, and works throughout the United States and internationally, as well as with sovereign tribes. Special emphasis is paid to priority places where there are high concentrations of poverty and where children face significant barriers to success. WKKF priority places in the U.S. are in Michigan, Mississippi, New Mexico and New Orleans; and internationally, are in Mexico and Haiti. For more information, visit www.wkkf.org.

About the Detroit Promise

The Detroit Regional Chamber Foundation administers the Detroit Promise on behalf of the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation and the Detroit Promise Zone. The scholarship program was initially started as the Detroit Scholarship Fund in 2013 as part of the effort put forth by Governor Rick Snyder to provide Detroit high school graduates a tuition fee path to college. The program has supported the college education of over 2,200 Detroit residents. With the establishment of the Detroit Promise Zone authority in 2016, Mayor Mike Duggan has paved the way for public funding to sustain the scholarship program in future years.

About the Michigan Education Excellence Foundation

The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) is a nonprofit, philanthropic organization dedicated to supporting innovative education initiatives for students in Michigan. By investing in innovative, education initiatives, MEEF seeks to build an attractive workforce, foster entrepreneurship, and nurture economic growth in Detroit and the state of Michigan. The Foundation funds these educational initiatives with a focus on supporting education for Michigan students who need the support most. MEEF is currently focused on raising nearly $30 million to support the Detroit Promise program as it faces increased demand, the need for innovative coaching services, and private funding before public financing is available.