These 10 Tuition-Free “College Promise” Programs Are Changing Our Country’s Future

We all know how expensive college can be. More and more, we are seeing private colleges charge as much as $70,000 per year!

Getting a great education that will send you into the workforce has never been more financially challenging.

Thankfully, there have been organizations popping up all around the country with one mission in mind: strengthen the workforce of their state tomorrow by paying for student’s educations today.

Today, we highlight 10 amazing “college promise” programs throughout the United States. A college promise program is exactly as it sounds – an incentive promising college financial aid to a qualified student.

The promises we outline here vary in the amount of financial award provided. Some cover the entire cost of college, while others guarantee hefty partial scholarships for students residing in the county the scholarship is endowed.

We are seeing more and more college promise programs appearing throughout the country, shining a bright light for the future of students looking to attend prestigious public and private universities.

Here are 10 of the most outstanding college promise programs currently available in the US.

Buchanan Promise (Buchanan, MI)

Buchanan High School
Jasonlietz, Photo of Buchanan High School in Buchanan, MI, Spet 2018, CC BY-SA 4.0

Based in Buchanan, Michigan, “The Buchanan Promise” supports children in their local community through scholarships for higher education.

Started in 2016, 100 Buchanan High School students each year will be awarded a scholarship of up to $10,000 for use at any post-secondary accredited institution.

This scholarship was made possible by a $7,000,000 donation from a local resident who was a lifetime resident of Buchanan and a graduate of the high school.

The scholarship has already made a significant impact on the local community, offering opportunities to local students that might not otherwise be available.

Here’s what the Buchanan community had to say:

  • “At first I was in shock because I was like this is an amazing opportunity being given to us.” – Dylan Catalano, Scholarship Recipient.
  • “I think kids are more motivated, they realize that they do have opportunities that they didn’t think they would have before.” – Cindy Hess, Buchanan High School Faculty.
  • “I was excited to hear that a company based in Buchanan was still giving back to the community after so long. What a wonderful way to give back: giving back to children in the community.” – Tara Maby, Buchanan High School Parent.

The scholarship is not merit-based and is available to any resident of the Buchanan High School district who are heading to a post-secondary institution.

For more information about eligibility and award distribution, visit

El Dorado Promise (El Dorado, AR)

Valis55, Municipal Building, El Dorado, AR, CC BY-SA 3.0

Started in 2007 with a $50m donation by the Murphy Oil Corporation, the El Dorado Promise has been awarded to over 2,000 students who have gone on to attend hundreds of different colleges and universities across the United States.

The Murphy Oil Corporation was looking for a way to make a positive impact on their local community, realizing they could create a lasting impression by supporting the higher education goals of their local community in El Dorado, Arkansas.

Here’s some of the feedback they received:

  • President George Bush was the guest speaker for the fourth annual Promise Academic Signing ceremony on April 22, 2010. “I am impressed by Murphy Oil Corporation and Madison Murphy,” Bush said, telling students, “They set aside money for people they don’t know so they can go to college. That’s impressive.” (El Dorado News)
  • President Bill Clinton was the guest speaker for the sixth annual event on April 17, 2012 and addressed more than 300 EHS graduates in the new high school gymnasium. Clinton praised Murphy Oil Corp. for their gift to EHS graduates, explaining 90% of the (EHS) students eligible for this scholarship go on to college, which was nearly 30% greater than the national average at the time. (El Dorado News)
  • “It is exciting what is happening in El Dorado. The foundation of all this success is the El Dorado Promise. The Promise attracts families, businesses and by creating El Dorado High School graduates (with scholarships to pay for higher education), it has created a cycle of success in El Dorado. I like seeing all the smiles and optimism.” – Governor Mike Hutchinson (El Dorado News)
  • “I have seen what the Promise has done for this community. This is an opportunity for you to get your major league job and I challenge you to take this opportunity.” – Dr Tom Kimbrell, Arkansas Commissioner of Education (El Dorado News)

The scholarship is not merit-based and is available to any resident of the El Dorado High School District who are heading to an accredited two-year or four-year educational institution in the United States.

For more information about eligibility and award distribution, visit

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