KALAMAZOO (WKZO) -- The Kalamazoo Promise is expanding. On Tuesday, Kalamazoo College President Doctor Eileen Wilson-Oyerlaran called it a wonderful day to be from the community as she kicked off a gathering to announce that the scholarship program is teaming up with the Michigan College Alliance to begin paying the tuition for graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools at 15 private universities around Michigan.
Previously, the Kalamazoo Promise only provided scholarships to students attending state supported universities and community colleges. Janice Brown, with the Kalamazoo Promise, says that the addition of more institutions will be possible because the MCA, which represents the state's 15 private colleges, will be paying for part of the program.
"What we've done is taken the average tuition for the University of Michigan College of Arts and Sciences, and that's going to be the Promise contribution," Brown told WKZO. "The MCA schools are going to make up the difference."
The 15 institutions that the Kalamazoo Promise will now include are Adrian College, Albion College, Alma College, Andrews University, Aquinas College, Calvin College, Hillsdale College, Hope College, Kalamazoo College, Madonna University, Marygrove College, Olivet College, Sienna Heights University, Spring Arbor University, and University of Detroit Mercy. Brown says that it's all about expanding options for Kalamazoo graduates.
"It's about access, and it's about opportunity," Brown said. "We're not the only Promise community in the United States to take part in this movement. We think it's a movement towards making sure that we have more partners to do this work, and it's a wonderful thing. We've got 15 colleges that are now part of the list."
The private colleges that pick up the rest of the tab for Kalamazoo students after their part of the Promise kicks in will take a bit of a financial hit, but they ultimately decided that taking part in the program would be a commitment worth making.
Since the creation of the Kalamazoo Promise, over 54 million dollars in scholarships have been awarded to just under 33 hundred graduates. Two thirds of them went on to attend either Western Michigan University or Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Scholarships to the 15 institutions included in Tuesday's announcement will be available to Kalamazoo graduates starting in the fall of 2015.