College Costs: Students Can't Afford Not to Know
The affordability of higher education is an important and growing concern for many Americans. In a new paper, Institute economists Brad Hershbein and Kevin Hollenbeck argue that even more important than having better information on the costs and benefits of attending college is ensuring that existing information reaches the students who need it most. They propose a novel and inexpensive approach that draws on economic research, current data, and local partnerships to disseminate college cost and benefit information to students in high school. The paper is part of a series commissioned by the Lumina Foundation.

Read the paper here.

Also available now is the Upjohn Institute College Earnings Tool. This on-line tool provides monthly earnings estimates for recent college (bachelors) graduates by major, helping students understand what their earnings are likely to be early in their career. Access the tool at

What can we learn from the Kalamazoo Promise?
The Kalamazoo Promise deserves national attention, as it has received most recently in the Politico article, because it raises a broader issue: can place-based college scholarships significantly boost not only national economies but also local economies? Is the path to local prosperity only through business tax cuts, or can prosperity be attained through selective and well-designed educational investments?"
That is why the Upjohn Institute has been actively researching the effects of the Kalamazoo Promise.  While we don’t yet have a complete picture of the effects of the Promise, the research completed so far suggests that it has wide-ranging impacts.  We know from our research that the Promise has helped boost the enrollment and economic vitality and racial integration of a core city school district (Bartik/Eberts/Huang).  Those who would have lived out-of-state without the Promise account for an appreciable share of the enrollment gains, which suggests positive impacts on the local economy (Hershbein).  The Promise has significantly improved student behavior and has boosted GPAs for African-American students (Bartik/Lachowska).  It has also increased college-going and college choice (Miller-Adams/Timmeney; Andrews et al.).
What we conclude from our research is that Promise-style programs deserve to be considered as part of the policy mix.  To help communities understand the place of educational investments in local economic development initiatives, the Upjohn Institute continues to support regular PromiseNet conferences around the country, to help other local communities assess plausible costs and benefits for Promise-style investments, and maintains a Web hub for research on Promise-style programs.

Previous Research Highlights

Social Security and Pension Reform: International Perspectives
Marek Szczepanski and John A. Turner, Editors

Countries around the world are reforming their social security and pension systems. International studies often focus on social security reforms in Europe and North America, and may include Latin America. Reforms, however, are also occurring in Asia and Africa, and include reforms of voluntary and employer-provided pensions as well as social security programs. This book discusses both social security and employer-provided pension reforms, as well as reforms in most regions of the world.