U of A Receives Funding to Study El Dorado Promise Program

Jan 25, 2018 | Education Reform

OEP logoThe Office for Education Policy at the University of Arkansas has received a $15,000 grant from Strada Education Network through the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research to fund a study of workforce outcomes of place-based college scholarship programs.

The Office for Education Policy, founded in 2003, conducts research to assist state lawmakers and educators in making decisions about prekindergarten through 12th grade education in Arkansas. It is based in the Department of Education Reform in the College of Education and Health Professions.

The new research ties into Strada Education Network’s “Completion With a Purpose” framework, which seeks to provide students with a more purposeful path into and through college and on to rewarding careers and successful lives. Through early awareness, the creation of a college-going culture and scholarships, Promise programs aim to move students through higher education and into productive employment. Previous research has shown that Promise programs can spur improvements in the kindergarten through 12th grade setting and boost college enrollment and completion.

Specifically, this research project will allow University of Arkansas researchers to collaborate with colleagues from the University of Pittsburgh, the University of Tennessee, and the University of Western Michigan to study the impact of College Promise programs by focusing on the extent to which these Promise scholarships and affect recipients’ attainment of college degrees as well as employment and earnings in subsequent years.

The U of A researchers will focus their study on the impact of the El Dorado Promise program. Gary Ritter, faculty director, and Sarah McKenzie, executive director, will lead the research; Ritter and other U of A researchers — Elise Swanson, Jennifer Ash, Angela Watson — have previously published studies on the impact of the El Dorado Promise on student success and school enrollment in elementary and secondary schools in El Dorado.

Most recently, the team presented results of its research on Promise Programs at a conference hosted by the University of Pennsylvania in October 2017.

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