June 10, 2014 | By John Perney
The Kalamazoo Promise is coming to Albion College.
The nine-year-old, nationally known college scholarship program for Kalamazoo Public Schools students is extending its reach beyond Michigan's public universities and colleges through a partnership with the Michigan Colleges Alliance (MCA) that begins in fall 2015.
Albion is one of the 15 leading independent, liberal arts-focused four-year colleges and universities that make up the MCA. Under the plan announced at a news conference in Kalamazoo today, the Promise will award scholarships at a level equal to the in-state undergraduate average of tuition and fees for the College of Literature, Science, and the Arts at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. Actual amounts depend on each student's length of enrollment in Kalamazoo Public Schools, and the MCA member institution will cover the difference between that amount and the amount of its yearly tuition and fees.
“It’s a remarkably generous initiative,” said Albion incoming President Mauri Ditzler, who attended the news conference and will formally become the College's 16th president July 1. “As we continue to rebuild a vibrant economy for Michigan, there need to be partnerships that include public and private entities as well as philanthropic and corporate interests.”
“This partnership truly is a winning proposition for all," said Alliance President Bob Bartlett. "Promise Scholars will benefit from increased college choice throughout the state, and MCA colleges and universities will be enriched by having these deserving students on their campuses. We are grateful to the Kalamazoo Promise for creating this opportunity.”
Janice Brown, board member for the Kalamazoo Promise, added, “This opportunity for Promise Scholars is a true measure of access and equity. The addition of these 15 institutions will increase the number of Promise-eligible schools to 58 schools throughout Michigan.”
Since its creation in 2005, the Kalamazoo Promise has been a valuable option for more than 3,800 high school students in the Kalamazoo Public Schools. It is funded by anonymous donors and has served as a model for similar programs in other cities and towns, including as large as Pittsburgh.
In Kalamazoo, Western Michigan University and Kalamazoo Valley Community College currently serve more than 60 percent of Promise students. Going forward, those students will have even more options.
“There are so many kinds of higher education institutions,” Ditzler said. “And we know that private residential liberal arts colleges, including nationally recognized schools like Albion, are the best option for some students. What this does is allow students in Kalamazoo Public Schools to find and attend the institution that best matches their interests while minimizing the financial differential. We look forward to welcoming our first Kalamazoo Promise students in fall 2015.”
Added Director of Admission Mandy Dubiel: “Albion College is a special place, where students explore their interests, find their passions and shape their futures. The admission staff is excited that more Kalamazoo Public Schools students will have the opportunity to attend Albion, and that we'll be among the first to help them prepare for their next step after college.”