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Ypsilanti Community Schools Developing Its Own Version Of 'The Kalamazoo Promise'

Sep 25, 2014

Some help is on the way for Ypsilanti Community Schools students who want to go to college but can't afford the tuition.  The Ypsilanti Promise scholarship program is similar to the Kalamazoo Promise.

Credit Bob Eccles


It would pay for college at Washtenaw Community College or Eastern Michigan University for students who graduate from Ypsilanti Community High School. 

Karen Gabrys chairs the committee setting up the scholarship program. 

Unlike Kalamazoo, she says Ypsilanti doesn't have an "angel" who donated enough money to establish an endowment.  An aggressive fundraising campaign will help finance the program. 

Gabrys says the main reason to support the Ypsilanti Promise is the students.

"It is going to help build a community of people who know their potential," Gabrys says. "And when we have that kind of inspired student leaving high school, going on, completing post-secondary career training or a Bachelor's degree coming back to the community, we will have a ready-made workforce for businesses that want to  engage in the community."

Research by the Upjohn Foundation shows that since the Kalamazoo Promise was introduced in 2005, grade point averages in Kalamazoo Public Schools are up, and suspensions are down. 

MLive says the numbers show enrollment is up, but graduation rates were mainly unchanged from 2005 through 2011. 

The website MISchoolData.org says that in 2013, the four-year granduation rate for Ypsilanti high school students was 56 percent. 

Gabrys says depending on how fundraising goes, it could be a year or two before the Ypsilanti Promise program is ready to launch.