Issue Focus

Learning from Success

The Detroit Promise Path


The Detroit Promise scholarship, administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, allows the city’s high school graduates to attend local colleges tuition-free. But while the scholarship reduced financial barriers to attending college, many students faced other issues and dropped out before graduation. To help, MDRC partnered with the Chamber to develop a student success program based on proven-effective support services. The Detroit Promise Path (DPP) launched in 2016 to assist scholarship recipients at the five community colleges participating in Detroit Promise. Early findings from MDRC’s rigorous evaluation have shown encouraging impacts on students’ enrollment and persistence. (For more information about the evaluation and early findings, see This Issue Focus provides more detail about the program model, outlines some elements of students’ experience, and shares early implementation lessons relevant to similar programs.