GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed a piece of bipartisan legislation to establish the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, a plan to cut the cost of college and encourage Michigan’s high school graduates to stay in the Mitten State.
A signing ceremony was held Tuesday at Lawrence Technological University in Southfield. Under the new program, Michiganders can qualify for financial need based on the FAFSA — Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Applicants can receive up to $2,000 per year for attending an occupational training program, $2,750 per year for attending a community college, $4,000 per year for attending a private college or university and $5,500 per year for attending a public university.
In a statement, the governor called the scholarship a step forward for the state’s economy and a step toward her office’s goal to have 60% of the working age population hold some form of post-secondary education or skills training.
“These scholarships will build on the success of the Michigan Reconnect program and save the vast majority of high school graduates thousands of dollars a year as they pursue higher education at community college, private college or a public university,” Whitmer said. “Let’s keep working together to meet the goals of MI New Economy and make Michigan a place where everyone can thrive.”
State Rep. Ben Frederick, R-Owosso, is the chair of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education. He said he supports the bill because it helps people from all walks of life.
“This much-needed boost in scholarship support for students across Michigan is truly transformational and represents opportunities for learners of all backgrounds to secure degrees and credentials at the institution of their choice with far less or no debt,” Frederick said in a release.
According to the Governor’s office, an estimated 94% of community college students are expected to qualify for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, along with 79% of students at a private school and 76% of students at a public university.
In addition to financial qualifications, students must have lived in the state of Michigan for at least one year, attend school full-time and hold a designated grade-point average.
Tarek Sobh, the president of Lawrence Tech and host of the signing, praised the move as an investment in Michigan’s future.
“I applaud our state’s leaders for making such strong investments to support students and families across Michigan,” Sobh said in a release. “Thanks to the programs we’ve heard about and this new bill, thousands more Michiganders now have a path to achieve their educational goals and create a better life for their families.”