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Affordability, Access, Success: A Framework for Examining Statewide College Promise Programs

Are statewide college Promise programs an effective way to increase college access and success?

It’s hard to say.  While these programs are becoming more common, they vary widely along a number of dimensions.  RFA’s new Statewide College Promise Framework is a tool that can be used to capture and compare important variation in the breadth and scope of Promise programs.

We present this framework in a new brief, titled Affordability, Access and Success: A Framework for Examining Statewide College Promise Programs, that examines how 21 statewide Promise programs balance tradeoffs between affordability, access and student success. Our analysis is based on two years of research (2017-2019) that includes a comprehensive policy scan plus in-depth case studies of statewide Promise programs in Oregon, Nevada, Tennessee, and Delaware.

Our analysis includes insight into how these programs are experienced by high school and college students, as well as by counselors, teaching staff and administrators at high schools and postsecondary institutions.  It also identifies both challenges and opportunities inherent in different approaches to statewide Promise programs.

States can use the Statewide College Promise Framework as they consider whether and how to construct their own Promise programs.