Top urban news, trends and reports curated for the world’s city leaders. Edited by David Hatch

The U.S. city where college tuition is free


For U. S. high school graduates, higher education is often synonymous with student loans and years of debt. Not in Kalamazoo, where college tuition is free.

Josh Sandburn reports for Time that the city in the state of Michigan is an “incubator of one of the most generous and transformative philanthropic gifts in the country.”

The Kalamazoo Promise, an $80 million scholarship fund created by anonymous local donors, covers the cost of in-state tuition at these participating colleges and universities. Since 2006, nearly 5,000 high school graduates in this city of 75,000 have taken advantage of the opportunity, the article says.

The program is so unusual for the United States that it has drawn the attention of President Barack Obama. In several European countries, students are accustomed to free or subsidized higher education. The trend is catching on in the States, where more than 50 communities “have some form of tuition-free, placed-based scholarships,” Sandburn notes.

The Kalamazoo Promise is changing the city along with students’ lives. The unemployment rate is below the state average, the population is stable and real estate agents cite the fund as a bonus for moving to Kalamazoo.

Read more about the Kalamazoo Promise here. 


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