Document Type


Publication Date


Research Center

Center for Economic Development


Many cities throughout the United States have created educational “promise” campaigns. Cities such as Kalamazoo and Pittsburgh have offered students money to attend college if they were enrolled in an urban public school and met other specific curriculum goals. These policies were created based on economic development research that cities and regions benefit from having population with education beyond high school. Studies have shown that the more educated a city’s population is, the more rapidly the city will experience growth. Moreover, cities with a diverse mix of jobs and a high concentration of human capital will attract employers, other highly educated individuals, and offer high wages.

The Center for Economic Development (the Center) at the Maxine Goodman Levin College of Urban Affairs at Cleveland State University has prepared a report for the Cleveland Foundation on the state of the city of Cleveland’s population, educational attainment, poverty, crime, cost of living, and financial aid recipients. This report seeks to assist the Cleveland Foundation in making the argument for a new scholarship program in Cleveland: the Cleveland Promise. The purpose of the Cleveland Promise is to promote academic success within our communities in order to develop a qualified workforce, inspire growth in our communities, and improve the quality of life in Northeast Ohio.

After experiencing decades of population decline and disinvestment, Cleveland is beginning to slowly show growth and improvement in both population and the economy. Although the city has lost population over the past decade, it has also experienced a very modest increase in the educational level of its citizens. It is an opportune time to improve Cleveland’s long-term economic future by investing in the educational level of the city’s youths in order to attract and retain highly educated and skilled individuals to the area. Improving the educational attainment of Cleveland is important to fostering economic growth for Northeast Ohio. Today’s cities facilitate the flow of ideas and survive only if they are able to adapt quickly and capitalize on the use of changing technologies.