A deep dive into a promise program

Great Lakes' mission is getting more students to and through college. We rely on data to make informed funding decisions to achieve that objective. We know promise programs hold appeal, and through The Degree Project we're looking to answer an important question: Do they perform as well as hoped?

The first of its kind, The Degree Project is a randomized control trial of a promise scholarship conducted in collaboration with Milwaukee Public Schools. Great Lakes is funding the scholarships, and the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences is funding the research component — headed by Dr. Douglas Harris, a noted expert on the economics of education.

The study began November 17, 2011. A single cohort of 2,588 Milwaukee Public Schools freshmen were given the details of this promise program: graduate on time with a 90% cumulative attendance record and at least a 2.5 cumulative GPA and you are eligible for up to $12,000 to help pay for an education at any two- or four-year non-profit Wisconsin college. At the time of their 2015 graduation, 1,664 students remained in the district with 445 of those meeting the program requirements.

Great Lakes has committed up to $5.4 million to fund Degree Project scholarships for these 445 students. As of spring 2016 semester, 253 students had enrolled in 31 different Wisconsin colleges, and we have disbursed over $1 million to help make their dream of going to college a reality.

Congratulations to the 445 students who worked hard in high school to earn this scholarship! We look forward to following your continued success in college.

"My mom and dad did not attend college. I am the oldest child and I want to be a model for my siblings. With this scholarship I didn't have to take out loans or work during the school year. The Degree Project helps make all my dreams come true."
~Milwaukee Area Technical College student Ze Her

"I had doubts about going to college. The Degree Project pushed me to keep my grades up. Receiving the scholarship meant that someone had faith in me, they trusted that I could go to college and finish with a degree."
~Mount Mary University student Yasmin Romo

"I always knew I could do more, improve my situation. The Degree Project scholarship was definitely an added incentive to work harder."
~Mount Mary University student Monique Beasley

FOR STUDENTS PARTICIPATING IN THE DEGREE PROJECT OR
THOSE INTERESTED IN LEARNING FROM OUR FINDINGS:

Students

All the details for our qualifying students.

Research

Follow the results of our study here.