UNFULFILLED PROMISES: HOW PROMISE SCHOLARSHIPS IMPACT SMALL PRIVATE COLLEGES
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Development and implementation of promise scholarship programs has risen over the last 15 years, yet research into their effects on the higher education landscape has been relatively scarce. While researchers have mostly examined how these programs impact students and communities, they have neglected to study how promise programs impact institutions of higher education. In this dissertation I examine how participation in a regional promise scholarship has resulted in small, private institutions being left with few choices, and as a result of participation, have to negotiate critical financial and campus environment issues. Drawing on interviews with both faculty and staff as well as analysis of an original survey, my findings show that administrators report unsustainable tuition discount rates, faculty and staff are more likely to stigmatize promise scholarship students, institutional diversity plans are lacking due to a shortage of resources, and that the presence of the promise scholarship has affected the way in which faculty and staff interact and perceive one another, resulting in a form of tokenism among the workforce. My findings demonstrate a pressing need to better understand how promise scholarships are affecting small private colleges and universities beyond the balance sheet.