In 2009, the adults of Baldwin, Michigan, made a promise to their kids, the students at Baldwin Community Schools.

If you studied hard and applied for higher education, they’d give you $5,000 a year for four years to make sure you got to go.

The Baldwin Promise was inspired by a similar promise made by the people of Kalamazoo, Michigan, to their kids in 2005. Along with 10 other regions in the Michigan Promise Zone, Baldwin provides up to $20,000 in academic funds for students who want to pursue further schooling. The money can be used at any public university or community or private college in the state of Michigan. All students need in order to qualify is to live in Baldwin from ninth grade until graduation, to be accepted at a higher learning institution, and to qualify for Pell grants. The Baldwin Promise makes up the difference.

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