A Two-Generation College Scholarship Program: Scaling HOPE Toledo Promise to Reduce Racial Inequities across the City

Project: Research project

Project Details


Two-generation initiatives link intensive, high-quality education services for children/youth and parents within the same low-income family. Such approaches that target children/youth and parents together represent a promising and innovative antipoverty strategy that can promote intergenerational economic opportunity in families. HOPE Toledo Promise, which began in 2020, is one of the only known model two-generation college scholarship program in the United States. Initial funding for HOPE Toledo comes from the Kadens Family Foundation and ProMedica Foundation with funding for scaling the program through The Kresge Foundation. The Promise program is directed by Reverend John Jones, president of HOPE Toledo. HOPE Toledo Promise is a two-generation program that provides cost-free postsecondary education (including tuition, room, board, books, and fees) to high school graduates and one of their parents/legal guardians. At this time, parents/guardians may only participate in the program if their child participates. Thus far, HOPE Toledo Promise has been offered to its first two classes of scholars: youth in the 2020 and 2021 graduating classes of Scott High School (“Youth Scholars”) along with one of their parents/guardians (“Parent Scholars”). Northwestern University researchers conducted a mixed-method implementation study of HOPE Toledo Promise’s first class of students, which culminated in a research report “An Implementation Study of the HOPE Toledo Promise Inaugural Class of 2020” (Sommer et al., 2021). Northwestern scholars have also disseminated these study findings in other forums, including a policy brief in produced in partnership with College Promise and a webinar for the College Promise Research Network, and we have plans to present at the Annual Association of Public Policy and Management (APPAM) conference in March 2022. These findings are informing the college promise field and further motivating the adoption of a whole-family approach to better support low-income families in achieving postsecondary education and career success. The overarching goal of the current project is to address the racial and systemic barriers to higher education access for low-income students of color across the city of Toledo. HOPE Toledo will achieve this goal by implementing and studying a model family-centered college scholarship program and by helping to foster a coordinated system of education and employment programs aimed at creating career pipelines in the fields of education and healthcare. The Northwestern University research team will conduct a mixed-methods implementation study of HOPE Toledo’s two-generation college promise program as it expands. We will focus on individual-level change by examining the experiences of youth and parent scholars, with a particular focus on the intergenerational dynamics of families with both generations participating in the program. We will also study systems-level change by examining the full range of college scholarship opportunities available to students, Toledo’s labor market and viable careers for family-sustaining wages, and the successes and challenges of the educational and employment partners as they facilitate and coordinate career pipelines.
Effective start/end date1/1/2212/31/23


  • HOPE Toledo Foundation (Agmt 1/6/2023)


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