There is a Johnny Appleseed result that comes from the establishment of a Promise.
Kalamazoo Promise has hatched more than a dozen programs in the state of Michigan. Earlier this year Cities of Promise featured the Braddock Promise, which is an initiative following the lead of the nearby Pittsburgh Promise. New Haven Promise was the first of its kind in New England and Hartford will join the Promise Nation next year.
Now Illinois is a hot spot for Promise with Harper College announcing last week that its new Promise Scholarship will be serving public high school students in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago starting in 2019.
Chicago’s STAR Scholarship received a lot of attention in recent months when it was heavily cited during President Barack Obama’s push for America’s Promise, which would open up community college as an extension of high school.
But Illinois has also been home to two other community college Promise programs — one in Peoria and the other in Galesburg. And the Peoria Promise appears to be the model for the Harper College initiative.
A quick look at the perimeters show that the program will be rather inclusive as it relates to high school grades, but tight in its requirements for both attendance and community service. Once enrolled as a tuition-free scholar at Harper, there will still be service expectations as well as increasing minimums of grade-point success.
“A college credential has never been more crucial to success than in today’s 21st century economy,” Harper President Dr. Kenneth Ender said. “This program has the potential to positively impact not only deserving and motivated students, but the entire region by presenting employers with an educated and skilled workforce.”
The school’s board of trustees has set aside $5 million from the general fund and the school has also secured another $1 million in donations so far while Motorola Solutions Chairman & CEO Greg Brown and his wife, Anna, are chairing a campaign to raise $10 million to fund the program into the future.
Harper College — perhaps best known as the alma mater of Academy Award winner Marlee Matlin — is located in the Village of Palatine about 25 miles from downtown Chicago.