Dozens of Merit Scholars and community leaders from around the state gathered at Michigan State University Thursday. They discussed the problems that may arise for the scholarship program if voters pass the Healthy Michigan Amendment during the November 5, 2002 election.
Students who pass the MEAP test during high school are eligible to receive a $2,500 scholarship to be used at an in-state university. The Merit Scholarships are funded - in part - by tobacco settlement money.
Merit Scholarships have helped nearly 140,000 Michigan students attend college since the program began in 1999. Students say if the Healthy Michigan Amendment passes, Merit Scholarship funding could be in jeopardy.
Ninety percent of the tobacco settlement money would be put towards tobacco-related health care, if the amendment passes.
Amendment promoters say Merit Scholars shouldn't be worried about losing money because they say legislators will a way to keep the program running. They say tobacco settlement money should go towards tobacco related healthcare because that is what it was intended to be used for when the settlement took place.