Rockford Promise sent 10 Rockford Public School graduates to college this fall, tuition free. Next year we are going to send 20. In a few years, we will fund an entire high school class and, ultimately, the whole district.
Imagine telling your business contact in another town that anyone who graduates from your local public high schools can go to college for free. This is what happens in communities that have city-wide Promise Scholarships. People move into these communities to take advantage of the Promise. In Kalamazoo, Mich., for example, that translated into about 1,900 additional jobs and an increase of $163 million in the county's total property values.
Enrollment in Kalamazoo Public Schools is up 23% since they started their Promise program. Suspensions are down and GPAs are up, particularly among African-American students. The Pittsburg Promise increased college enrollment and college graduation outcomes, particularly for women and minorities. The Promise is helping to narrow the achievement gap and create greater equity.
Rockford Promise is still in the beginning stages but growing fast. Our ultimate vision is to make higher education available for any student living in Rockford city limits. We believe this program can contribute to transforming Rockford into a first-choice community of the midwest.
Join us in the transformation! We are kicking off our 2018 scholarship season on September 16 in a fun party on the stage of the Starlight Theater at Rock Valley College.
You can find out more about the event and Rockford Promise at rockfordpromise.org.
I’m Susan Fumo, and that’s my perspective.