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Research Projects

In addition to maintaining the database of College Promise programs and conducting analyses of these data, Penn AHEAD is engaged in several other projects designed to generate and disseminate research-based knowledge of College Promise programs. Current research projects include the following:

Evaluating Free Community College Programs

Project Lead: Research for Action; Sub-Contract: Penn AHEAD (Laura Perna and team)
Funder: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

This project is designed to advance understanding of design, implementation, and effects of selected state and local free community college programs. The project will also develop and test a framework for assessing the costs and benefits of free community college programs.

California College Promise Program and Landscape Scan

Project Lead: WestEd; Sub-Contract: Penn AHEAD (Laura Perna and team)
Funder: Irvine Foundation

This project seeks to learn from practitioners, policymakers, industry representatives, technical assistance providers, and researchers about the landscape of College Promise in California. Findings of the investigation will be documented and disseminated to California and national constituents.

The scan will describe the development, expansion, and key elements of California College Promise programs; identify the technical assistance and research needs of the field; investigate perceptions of the potential impact of College Promise programs on students and institutions as well as the alignment between College Promise and other K-16 student success initiatives; and identify the research and service providers who are supporting the field.

Improving Research-Based Knowledge of College Promise Programs

Project Lead: Penn AHEAD (Laura Perna); Project Partners: College Promise Campaign, WestEd
Funder: AERA Education Research Conferences Program

On October 19-20, 2017, Penn AHEAD convened more than 50 scholars on Penn’s campus to present current research on Promise programs. A manuscript with peer-reviewed papers from the conference will be published by AERA in fall 2018. For more information, see the conference agenda, presentations, and photos from the conference.