The Degree Project was launched in 2011 with a promise made to half of that year's freshman class: if you graduate on time from MPS with a 2.5 or higher GPA and an attendance record of at least 90%, and complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA®), Great Lakes will award up to $12,000 to help pay for your education at a two- or four-year nonprofit Wisconsin college.
Four years later, 445 students met the program's graduation requirements and Great Lakes is making good on its promise by committing more than $5 million in scholarships to help them pay for college.
An ongoing evaluation of the program, independently funded by the U.S. Department of Education's Institute for Education Sciences, is being conducted to determine whether The Degree Project actually increased the rate that students graduated from high school and went on to college. It is the country's first randomized trial of a promise program. By following The Degree Project students from high school through college, the research team will assess the effect promise scholarships have on college preparation, enrollment and degree completion.
When preliminary research results are available we look forward to sharing them with our colleagues in the field of college access, in Milwaukee and beyond. As of April 2019, 310 students had enrolled in 32 different Wisconsin colleges and over 150 students have received the maximum $12,000 scholarship. During the 2018-19 academic year, students received more than $124,000 in scholarships, and since the beginning of this project, we have disbursed $2.65 million to help more students realize their dreams of going to college.