EDUCATION

Promise kept: Anonymously funded tuition program in Michigan still delivers 10 years later

  • Kalamazoo Promise recipients pose for a group photo during an event celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the anonymously funded program on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Announced in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise, which pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district, has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)

    Kalamazoo Promise recipients pose for a group photo during an event celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the anonymously funded program on Saturday, Aug. 15, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Announced in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise, which pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district, has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell looks at a recently unveiled city limit sign honoring the Kalamazoo Promise,  Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Announced in 2005, the anonymously funded program that pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)

    Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell looks at a recently unveiled city limit sign honoring the Kalamazoo Promise, Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich. Announced in 2005, the anonymously funded program that pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)  (The Associated Press)

  • Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Bob Jorth, from left, Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, former Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Janice Brown and Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director of Community Relations Von Washington Jr. applaud Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich., following the unveiling of city limit signs honoring the Kalamazoo Promise and its 10-year anniversary. Announced in 2005, the anonymously funded program that pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)

    Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Bob Jorth, from left, Kalamazoo Mayor Bobby Hopewell, former Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director Janice Brown and Kalamazoo Promise Executive Director of Community Relations Von Washington Jr. applaud Friday, Aug. 14, 2015, in Kalamazoo, Mich., following the unveiling of city limit signs honoring the Kalamazoo Promise and its 10-year anniversary. Announced in 2005, the anonymously funded program that pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district has given out $67 million in scholarships, and students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials. Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage. (AP Photo/ Mike Householder)  (The Associated Press)

An anonymously funded program that pays the college tuition of students from the Kalamazoo public school district in Michigan has given out $67 million in scholarships since being announced 10 years ago.

Close to 4,000 students have taken advantage of the program called the Kalamazoo Promise. Students have earned more than 850 degrees and post-secondary credentials.

A study released this summer by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research shows students eligible for the program are a third more likely to graduate from college within six years of finishing high school. The study compared them with their peers before the Promise existed.

The program has become a model for similar initiatives elsewhere. Dozens of communities across the U.S. now offer free-tuition strategies modeled after Kalamazoo's.