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July 6, 2023

College Promise Announces 425 Programs & New Student Ecosystem Report

College Promise, a nonprofit committed to making college, including postsecondary career training, as universal, free, and accessible as high school, announces 425 College Promise programs across all 50 states, measuring significant growth since the initiative's inception in 2015, when 53 programs were initially identified.

Accompanying this new milestone is the release of a Student Ecosystem report summarizing five years of partnership and research on College Promise student ecosystem populations. The 10 Populations of College Promise Students and the Ecosystems to Support Them details the needs of targeted supports to learners based on their identified demographic. Student populations highlighted include:

  • Traditional-Aged Students
  • Adult Students (Prime Age Workers) 
  • Undocumented Students
  • Student Veterans
  • Justice-Impacted Students
  • First Generation Students
  • Students in or Aged Out of Foster Care
  • Students with Disabilities
  • Student-Parents
  • Students Needing Academic Support

Today, many students work, have extensive familial responsibilities, and/or struggle to braid funding from local, state, and federal sources to pay their way through school. This cumulative report details a deeper understanding of 10 key populations of students, as well as uncovering ways to:

  • Identify students’ tuition and non-tuition expenses (for example, transportation, books, supplies, childcare housing);
  • Provide stable, sustainable state and local revenue models supported by the government with public and private sector partners; and
  • Leverage what works (for example, evidence-based high-impact strategies).

Since 2018, College Promise and ETS have partnered to better understand college student ecosystems, creating design teams composed of cross-disciplinary subject matter experts. Each team included student representation to ensure student voices guided the work.  

Our new insights report incorporates all of the existing ten populations reports; the themes that emerged as design teams ideated about students’ trajectories into, through, and beyond higher education; and actionable steps that college leaders, College Promise leaders, K-12 leaders, practitioners, researchers, and communities can take to create ecosystems of support for a diverse student population. We aim to address educational inefficiencies, shorten the time it takes students to earn a credential, and expand students’ employment opportunities.

"College Promise programs are a proven means of helping students access, persist in, and graduate from higher education. But because we know students aren’t a monolith, we created a way to set up these design teams to help us understand – and better address – the needs of those specific populations,” said Martha Kanter, CEO of College Promise.

About College Promise

College Promise is a national, nonpartisan initiative to build broad public support for accessible, affordable, quality College Promise programs across the United States. Through partnerships with community colleges and universities, as well as leaders in education, business, nonprofit, government, and philanthropy, College Promise empowers stakeholders to enact proven solutions enabling hard-working students to complete a college degree or certificate with a student-centric framework that aligns no-cost tuition strategies with meaningful student support services.     

About ETS

At ETS, we advance quality and equity in education for people worldwide by creating assessments based on rigorous research. ETS serves individuals, educational institutions, and government agencies by providing customized solutions for teacher certification, English language learning, and elementary, secondary and postsecondary education, and by conducting education research, analysis and policy studies. Founded as a nonprofit in 1947, ETS develops, administers and scores more than 50 million tests annually — including the TOEFL® and TOEIC® tests, the GRE® tests and The Praxis Series® assessments — in more than 180 countries, at over 9,000 locations worldwide.

A special thanks to our funders, Ascendium Education Group, Carnegie Corporation of New York, ECMC Foundation, and The Kresge Foundation for supporting this work.

Read the full Press Release here.

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