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Other Resources

Penn AHEAD is one of several organizations actively engaged in advancing research-based knowledge about College Promise programs. Researchers, practitioners, and policymakers who are interested in further understanding College Promise programs should also consider the work of these other organizations.

Penn AHEAD Partners 

College Promise Campaign

Led by Martha Kanter, the College Promise Campaign provided Penn AHEAD with initial seed money to begin its research on College Promise programs and create the online searchable database and map of College Promise programs. The College Promise Campaign is a national, non-partisan initiative that seeks to build public support for funding the first two years of higher education.


Since 2015 WestEd, Penn AHEAD, and the College Promise Campaign have been collaborating to assist the design, implementation, and evaluation of California’s College Promise programs. The team has hosted two statewide College Promise convenings; helped institution leaders design programs and develop research and evaluation plans; and researched, documented, and compiled data on Promise program features to create resource guides and conduct descriptive research. WestEd is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research, development, and service agency that works with education and other communities throughout the United States and abroad to promote excellence, achieve equity, and improve learning for children, youth, and adults.

Research for Action

In January 2018, Research for Action (RFA) and Penn AHEAD launched a multi-site, comparative study of state and local College Promise programs. This study will examine how these differences influence Promise program effectiveness, and it will provide insight into which models work best in different contexts. It is designed to be of practical utility as states and localities consider both whether and how to design and implement these programs, and it will include a return on investment analysis as well. A non-profit education research organization, RFA seeks to use research as the basis for the improvement of educational opportunities and outcomes for traditionally underserved students.

Other organizations

Campaign for Free College Tuition

Established in 2014, the Campaign for Free College Tuition (CFCT) is a non-profit bi-partisan coalition of individuals and groups seeking to advance free college tuition initiatives. 

MDRC’s College Success Initiative

MDRC’s College Promise Success Initiative provides technical assistance to College Promise and Free College programs interested in promoting success in college by implementing evidence-based student support practices. Through the initiative, MDRC will disseminate best practices and tools to the over 200 College Promise and Free College programs that exist across the country.

State Higher Education Executive Officers (SHEEO) Adult Promise Program

With support from Lumina Foundation, SHEEO assessed the feasibility of creating promise-type aid programs geared toward adult learners. With continued support from Lumina Foundation, SHEEO is working with four states (Maine, Minnesota, Oklahoma, and Washington) to design and implement promise-type programs for adult learners.

W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research

The Upjohn Institute conducts research and evaluation on the Kalamazoo Promise and has advanced efforts to create place-based scholarship programs nationwide. The Upjohn Institute provides consulting services to organizations and communities interested in replicating the Kalamazoo Promise and organizes the annual PromiseNet conference for community stakeholders to share best practices in designing and sustaining place-based scholarships.

Convenings and Conference Proceedings


PromiseNet is annual event that provides Promise community stakeholders the opportunity to share best practices for designing, implementing, and sustaining place-based scholarship programs.

College Promise in California

Produced by WestEd, this report provides information on College Promise programs established in California as of August 2016.

Designing Sustainable Funding for College Promise Initiatives (ETS/College Promise Campaign)

The College Promise Campaign and the Educational Testing Services convened the “Designing Sustainable Funding for College Promise Initiatives” conference in June 2016 to review and refine five models for funding college promise initiatives. This document summarizes findings from reports presented at the conference.