The project estimated the effects of alternative design characteristics for the Pittsburgh Promise on outcomes by race and income level. The goals of this study were to help the community and leaders design the Promise so that (1) all socioeconomic groups of students have access to the scholarship, (2) Pittsburgh Public Schools’ enrollment and the population of the city of Pittsburgh increase, (3) public school student achievement improves, (4) college enrollment and completion increase, and (5) the Promise is as affordable as possible for donors. The project was able to forecast the outcomes of three basic designs for the Promise:
• The present merit-based Promise, with its last-dollar scholarship for selected public and private colleges and universities,
• A universal design for the Promise based on the Kalamazoo Promise, which applies to all high school graduates and has a sizeable scholarship for a large number of public colleges and universities, and
• A design which combines elements of the above options, with universal eligibility and a last-dollar, mid-sized scholarship ($7500) for a large number of public and private colleges and universities.
For each design we were able to forecast public school enrollment, high school graduation, college enrollment and completion, and student achievement (grades and test scores) by race, gender, and income. We also forecasted effects on city population and program costs. We used research on state and local Promise-type programs and recent data from Kalamazoo, Pittsburgh, and other state and local areas to forecast outcomes in Pittsburgh.