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College Promise Programs and Alternative Tuition Strategies in Pennsylvania and Beyond

December 07, 2023  | Education

College “Promise” programs have spread rapidly across the higher education landscape over the past two decades, but there is little consensus about what they are or how they work. This research report introduces these programs, discusses prior research findings about their effects, and conducts empirical analyses using several data sources. At the national level, the study finds a positive effect of Promise programs on enrollment, particularly of first-year students, but not on retention. For one local program this research examines in-depth, Tamaqua’s Morgan Success Scholarship, results suggest strong effects both on “democratization” (increasing overall college-going) and “diversion” (routing students from four-year colleges/degrees to two-year colleges/degrees), though the latter fades over time. For the Community College of Philadelphia’s 50th Anniversary Scholars Program, the study finds no effect on college-going or on community college enrollment.

Executive Summary

Tags:  college students , community college , school enrollment , financial aid , promise programs , college access , place-based scholarships , college completion

Pandemic-Associated Cyber Charter Enrollments and the Impacts on Rural School Districts in Pennsylvania

September 01, 2023  | Education

This study investigated the financial impact of cyber charters in Pennsylvania, parents’ decision-making about cyber enrollment, and traditional rural school district and cyber leader responses to changing cyber enrollments to inform Commonwealth cyber charter policy. The data suggest that cyber enrollments and costs to rural districts have dramatically increased over time and cyber charter achievement data lag behind both brick-and-mortar charters and traditional public schools.

Executive Summary

Tags:  #education , rural school districts , charter schools , covid-19 , cyber charters , school enrollment , remote learning , cyber charter funding , cyber charter policy

Introducing the Center's new journal, Rural Policy: The Research Bulletin of the Center for Rural Pennsylvania.