In March 2015, Harper College announced its ambitious campaign to provide qualifying high school students in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago with two years of free tuition.
The requirements involve solid grades, strong attendance (at about 95 percent), college prep work and service to the community (60 hours overall). Students are then expect to meet college benchmarks in grades, persistence and service.
“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.”
Harper College looked in-state, at the Peoria Promise, to see that those students graduated or transferred at a rate of 65 percent compared to 31 percent for students who didn’t participate in the program.
In September, Harper College received a visit from the U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan as well as a $1 million ‘investment’ for the Promise.