Academic Excellence Promised and Delivered

In Southwest Michigan, employers, educators and community partners work side by side to build a culture of excellence across the continuum of education from pre-K to higher education. You’ll often find business leaders integrated into classrooms or curriculum planning sessions to ensure career readiness is incorporated into all levels of learning. Companies can easily identify talented college students through integrated internship programs and career fairs. Active apprenticeship training is accessible to companies seeking to offer on-the-job training experiences. K-12 Career and technical education is customized to support cutting-edge technologies. And you might also recognize the region for a certain promise that gives up to a 100% tuition scholarship to Kalamazoo residents.

Higher Education

Western Michigan University is a top 100 national public four-year research university located in Kalamazoo with 147 undergraduate degree programs, 73 master’s degree programs, 30 doctoral programs and one specialist program within seven degree-granting colleges. The community’s commitment to higher education was made evident by a $550 million anonymous donation called the Empowering Futures Gift ─ the largest private gift ever bestowed upon a public university.

Kalamazoo College was founded in 1833 and is among the 100 oldest colleges and universities in the nation. Highly selective, nationally renowned and globally oriented, Kalamazoo College is the home of the K-Plan which combines rigorous scholarship, study abroad, career development and civic engagement in a flexible curriculum.

Kalamazoo Valley Community College is the largest community college in Southwest Michigan offering associate degrees and professional certificates in a wide variety of disciplines including industrial trades and manufacturing and workforce training academies.

Kellogg Community College, with sites in Battle Creek, Albion, Coldwater, Hastings and the Fort Custer Industrial Park, offers 60 pre-professional transfer curricula, 37 associate degree programs, 25 certificate programs, seven categories of professional certifications and a variety of short-term, non-credit courses.

Albion College is a private liberal arts college in Albion. With 49 majors, concentrations and pre-professional programs, Albion gives students the flexibility to forge their own paths while gaining a true understanding of the world.

Glen Oaks Community College is a skills-focused community college located in Centreville, Michigan with accredited certificates in manufacturing. Glen Oaks also serves as a fiduciary for the Michigan New Jobs Training Program (MNJTP) and was one of the state’s first adopters of the Early Middle College program.

Southwestern Michigan College in Dowagiac, Michigan is a skill-focused community college that also serves as a fiduciary for the MNJTP.

Andrews University is a private Seventh-day Adventist university in Berrien Springs. Defined by U.S. News and World Report to be one of the most culturally diverse universities in the nation, it places importance on serious scholarship, quality research and practical for its students pursuing associate to doctoral degrees.

Lake Michigan College, with locations in Benton Harbor, Niles, South Haven and Allegan offers 80 academic programs including associate degrees and certificates and the unique Welch Center for Wine & Viticulture which opened on the main campus in 2019.

Free Tuition

In the fall of 2005, a group of anonymous donors interested in the economic strength and quality of life in the city of Kalamazoo made an amazing gift: Every Kalamazoo Public School graduate is provided the opportunity to attend post-secondary education with up to a 100% tuition scholarship. This scholarship program, called The Kalamazoo Promise, gives all students who graduate from Kalamazoo Public Schools, reside in the district, and have been students at least all of their high school years funding for college tuition and mandatory fees at eligible institutions in Michigan.

Given the success of The Kalamazoo Promise, similar programs for graduating students have been created in Battle Creek and Three Rivers. Battle Creek Public Schools is proud to feature the Bearcat Advantage — a scholarship exclusively available to eligible BCPS graduates that covers up to 100% of college tuition and mandatory fees. The Three Rivers Promise is currently in its initial fundraising phase, so scholarship funds are not yet available. It will soon help graduates of Three Rivers Community Schools achieve their goals by supporting their post-secondary education and training.

Additionally, Michigan’s Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity offers the Michigan Reconnect program, which provides eligible individuals with free tuition to community colleges across the state.

The Kalamazoo Promise

Bearcat Advantage

Three Rivers Promise

Intermediate School Districts

In Michigan, an Intermediate School District (ISD), sometimes called a Regional Educational Service Agency (RESA), is a governmental agency organized at the county or multi-county level that partners and assists a local school district in providing programs and services. The following ISDs and RESAs are key partners in educating students from birth through high school. For businesses, they can play a big role in developing your workforce pipeline—particularly in career and technical education.


International Baccalaureate

The International Baccalaureate (IB) program is a rigorous two-year comprehensive curriculum for grades 11 and 12 that prepares students for post-secondary study. Central and Northern High Schools in the Portage Public Schools District are authorized to offer IB studies. Over half of all juniors and seniors at a high school in Portage, Michigan take one or more IB classes.

Area Mathematics and Science Centers

The Kalamazoo Area Mathematics and Science Center (KAMSC) delivers a challenging, accelerated education in mathematics, science and technology to selected Kalamazoo County students in grades 9 through 12. Students may apply to the program in the eighth grade and, if accepted, spend their school day in intensive mathematics, sciences and/or computer courses. In Calhoun County, the Battle Creek Area Mathematics and Science Center (BCAMSC) offers similar rigorous coursework.