State Might Break Its Promise to Students

By: Jamie Edmonds Email
By: Jamie Edmonds Email

"I'm the oldest of six kids and my younger brothers and sisters are in private education, so money's tight," DJ McKerr said.

Which means eighteen-year-old McKerr's parents won't be able to help him pay for college.

"I've been mowing lawns the past couple of years saving up," he said.

On top of his budding business, this Lansing Catholic grad was counting on a promise from the state.

"Based on your scores on the merit scholarship, you get grants," McKerr said. "For me, I got $1,000 per year."

But, a Senate Subcommittee voted Tuesday to cut the Michigan Promise Scholarship and other need-based financial aid programs to help chip away at $1 billion budget deficit.

"The Michigan Promise Grant affects about 100,000 students," Michael Boulus said "It will have a dramatic impact."

Boulus is the executive director of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.

"It's going to increase debt load," he said. "It's going to force universities to think about how they're going to respond. We're going to have to rethink how we package financial aid to our neediest students."

The Michigan House already passed its version of a higher education budget which did not include as many cuts to financial aid, but that was before, lawmakers said, they knew just how bad the budget shortfall for next year would be.

"We probably won't be able to keep financial aid at the level we passed it earlier this year, but I hope it's not cut as dramatically as the Senate's version," said Rep. Joan Bauer, the chair of the House higher education appropriations committee.

For now, students like McKerr are left waiting, wondering if the state will keep it's word.

"[If they do cut this grant,] I'm going to have to mow a lot more lawns, I guess, to make up for it," McKerr said.

This is not a done-deal yet. The Senate still has to pass the sub committee's version. Then, the Senate and the House would have to come to an agreement. Rep. Bauer hopes that can happen before July 4th, so families and students can plan accordingly.

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  • by Jacqueline Location: Lansing on Jun 17, 2009 at 07:39 AM
    Well, why should the state invest in its youth? They're all just going to leave the state anyway. It's too costly an investment for those who won't be hanging around. Seriously, though, it's a tough balance. Paying for students to go to college just to have them leave (as so many inevitably do) isn't worth it. And we can't make the state more able to keep students in if we continue as we're going. But on the other hand, is not paying for students really going to help anything? I feel there are plenty of other institutions to "chip away" at. And, as Monique already noted, pick a better example next time. I'm working three jobs to pay my own way through college because my parents could only afford to send me to public school.
  • by Pam Location: Jackson on Jun 17, 2009 at 07:35 AM
    We need to elect officials who are not politicians.
  • by kelly on Jun 17, 2009 at 07:21 AM
    cut welfare instead!
  • by Monique Location: Lansing on Jun 17, 2009 at 06:37 AM
    Although I believe that cutting this scholarship opportunity is going to negatively impact thousands of students, I wish you would have used a more deserving indvidiual to show the negativity. This family is paying for private education for 6 children..I can't even afford to pay for private education for my one child. Stop paying for the private education and you can afford to send your child to college even though I also believe it is not a parent's job to pay for college, they are adults, they should be responsibile for this on their own, like hundreds of thousands of others do!
  • by Promises on Jun 17, 2009 at 04:04 AM
    Promises should be avoided. Tomorrow is promised to know one. Once you break a PROMISE your TRUST factor goes out the window. That is why government has such a low approval rating, that is why big corporations like gm are failing, they made PROMISES that they had no business making. How many promises have you broken? Why don't your family and friends believe you, is it because you break your promises? When we start being honest with ourselves maybe we can someday fulfill a promise, but I doubt it because tomorrow is promised to know one. Were fortunate if we just live by being honest with ourselves. The truth will set you free but I can't promise that either. Hopefully if you ever make a promise you will live by and keep your word or you are not being honest or trustworthy. Questions of the day. Should the word PROMISE be removed from the marriage vows? Should it be removed from the oath of political appointments. Is the word PROMISE used to carelessly?
  • by Kim Location: Northern Michigan on Jun 17, 2009 at 03:38 AM
    My daughter was counting on this scholarship. I dont know how we are going to come up with another 1000 dollars for her to go to school. Her FAFSA said the parent contribution was 0 and she didnt get full financial aid either, because there are not enough funds. Michigan needs to get its act together and maybe the politicians need to take pay cuts to balance the budget. What happened to all the lotto money that is supposed to go towards education?
  • by The Walrus Location: Lansing on Jun 16, 2009 at 10:03 PM
    It's pathetic that those Capital screw-ups can't think of any other way to *chip away*, not significantly make a a dent in, at the grand and glorious deficit that belongs to our "Great" state. These students that have accumulated these Grants have worked extremely hard in a district that has proven itself over and over again to barely work for it's students. It seems like anytime the Govt. wants to make any cuts in education, the Michigan education system as a whole rolls over and takes it like a dog that's lost all it's fight, what little it had to begin with anyways. Times are tough, especially in Michigan and they don't look to be on the verge of a quick turnaround, so why does our Government continue to kick us while we're down? Don't make the students who will one day run this, city, this state, and this country pay for the mistakes that Granholm and her posse continue to make. Send her the bill and keep our kids in school.
  • by Steve Location: Charlotte on Jun 16, 2009 at 08:50 PM
    Cutting higher education assistance for students virtually guarantees that you'll seriously damage the future of this state. Education provides a solid foundation for everyone's future: how about we start looking closer to home in the legislature? What about a 10% across the board pay cut for legislators - set a leadership example that will inspire others to follow suit. (I know it will never happen, but one can dream...)
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