Being born and raised in Kalamazoo isn't the most exciting thing, but shoving free college into everyone else's faces is fun though. I always knew the Kalamazoo Promise was started to make it possible for underprivileged children to attend college in Michigan, but what I didn't realize is the Kalamazoo Promise takes care of much more than just tuition and mandatory fees.

Being Born in 1999, I didn't start school until 2003 which was preschool, but that's when I started attending Kalamazoo Public Schools(KPS). Remember that because it'll be important later on. The Kalamazoo Promise officially launched in 2006, making the graduates from the class of 2005 the first to receive the award. I was lucky enough to be grandfathered in for my first two years of school and I was granted 100% of the Kalamazoo Promise.

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As many people know, the Kalamazoo Promise will pay for a percentage of your tuition based upon your tenure at KPS and pending your graduation from a KPS high school. If you start attending KPS in Kindergarten you receive 100% of the scholarship, Grades 1-3 are all 95%, and then it drops 5% for every grade year after 3, but stops during freshman year of high school at 65%.

If you start sophomore year or later you don't receive any of the promise. The other requirement is that you must reside within the KPS district as well. Maintaining a 2.0 GPA and full time student status is all that is required of Kalamazoo Promise scholars to retain their scholarship while in college. If your GPA drops below a 2.0 then you will temporarily lose your scholarship until you can regain a 2.0.

Peace Offering

One of the most stressful parts of the college experience is handling financial aid and paying you school the hundreds of thousands of dollars that you owe them for providing an education, a place to live and eat, technology, and many other resources.  I was able to channel all of my energy into focusing on school, sports, a social life or anything else I wanted. The Kalamazoo Promise removed a very large majority of this stress from my experience. Only having to fill out my financial aid to cover expenses not related to tuition took less time and saved so much money on loans.

The Kalamazoo Promise not only paid for my college and reduced stress, it set me up for success that won't be put on hold by crippling student loan debt. I had the opportunity to live a wild four years at school and now I have a job in the field I've always dreamed of working in. The Kalamazoo Promise is more than just a scholarship, its a pathway to success for some that otherwise wouldn't have that same chance. The Kalamazoo Promise is a life saver that evens the playing field. I couldn't be more grateful to be from Kalamazoo.

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