How Can You Qualify for the Michigan Promise?

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Like roughly half of her fellow seniors at Grand Ledge High School, Sarah Golub is planning on attending a four-year college next year.

"I applied to Ferris (State University) and Wayne State (University) and was accepted into both," Golub said.

Now comes the hard part.

"I'll probably be paying for college myself," she said.

Golub is already getting about $2,500 for college from the state of Michigan thanks to the Michigan Merit Award, based her success on standardized tests in high school.

Under the newly-passed "Michigan Promise," which will replace the Merit Award, even though she's headed to college next year, she'll eligible for up to $4,000.

"It absolutely makes a difference. I don't think anybody is set for college," Golub said.

But given the cost of attending college can a few thousand dollars really help those moving from the high school halls to the residence halls?

"If you apply for scholarships, it all adds up," she said.

And here's how it adds up for students headed to colleges, private or public, in Michigan: For those who do well on the new Michigan Merit Exam, $1,000 for freshman year, $1,000 for sophomore year and then $2,000 for completing both.

Even if students don't do well on that high school test, they can get the full $4,000 for finishing two years of college.

"It's kind of like a reward after the work," Grand Ledge college counselor Lola Holliday said.

She says the money will help the students she advises.

"Especially those kids who are thinking of a junior college," Holliday said.

Because those students are often not as prepared for the cost associated with college. Plus, unlike the tuition at a four-year school, the $4,000 grant can cover a significant amount of the tuition at a community college.

But those getting the grant won't get less in financial aid, meaning, even at a pricier school, the extra cash can help.

"Can't hurt. It'll be nice," Golub said.

A spokeswoman for Governor Jennifer Granholm says the governor will sign the bill early next week.