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Kalamazoo — Researchers say an anonymously funded free college tuition program for high school graduates of the Kalamazoo Public Schools has helped increase college graduation rates.

The Kalamazoo Gazette reports a new study finds students eligible for the Kalamazoo Promise are a third more likely to graduate college within six years of finishing high school versus their peers before the program was in place.

The research was released Thursday by the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research.

The Kalamazoo Promise has offered full-tuition scholarships since 2005 to students who spend kindergarten through 12th grade in the city’s public school district. High school graduates are able to attend any community college, public university and a select group of private colleges in the state.

More than $60 million in scholarships have been given.

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