Kalamazoo offers free tuition

Nov. 11, 2005 at 3:43 PM
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KALAMAZOO, Mich., Nov. 11 (UPI) -- Kalamazoo, Mich., has announced plans to pay tuition for any city public school graduate who attends a Michigan college.

The deal begins with the class of 2006, the Kalamazoo Gazette said. The Kalamazoo Promise announced Thursday by Superintendent Janice Brown would pay 100 percent of tuition for students who have been in the Kalamazoo schools since first grade with pro-rated amounts for all students who enter by the 10th grade.

Officials expect the tuition offer to reverse a slide in public school enrollment and to encourage families with school-age children to move to Kalamazoo.

"This represents a tremendous opportunity for every kid to go to college without any excuses," said Mayor Robert Jones. "For the city, well, it sets the city apart. We really have something now that gives us a competitive advantage in attracting business to this area."

The cost is expected to be $3 million the first year, increasing to $12 million annually when four classes of eligible students are in college. Brown said the funding is coming from anonymous donors who have pledged an indefinite commitment.

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