Michigan Promise Zones: What effect are they having on college readiness and college interest?

This article explores issues of Promise Zones in Michigan by examining the effects they have on students, as measured by college readiness and college interest.  Promise Zones are a tax-funded community/school partnership that have begun to emerge across the country to tackle the four-year high school dropout rate in economically distressed communities by providing a guaranteed financial incentive to encourage students to stay in school and go to college. This work originated out of a prior study looking at the implementation of a Promise program in a rural Michigan community.  With Promise programs being a newer phenomenon to the educational landscape, and having originated in Michigan, it is appropriate to explore which Promise Zones are having the most significant impact on their communities and which aspects, if any, of these programs can be replicated. The following questions provide a foundation to determine the effectiveness of Promise Zones on various factors. Are these programs positively affecting high school students in the way that they intend to? Are students in these programs meeting college readiness benchmarks? Are students who participate in these programs engaging in college preparation activities?   The purpose of this non-experimental quantitative study is to examine the impact of existing Promise Zones on college readiness and student interest in furthering their education through attending a post-secondary institution.