Promise Scholarship in Limbo

By: Liam Martin Email
By: Liam Martin Email

"It'll be a bummer."

MSU sophomore Taylor Beyer says she's sick to her stomach.

"It's just the whole money issue. I don't know, I think even just that little bit helps that much."

Just that little bit is $500 in Michigan Promise scholarship funds -- the amount Beyer and nearly 100,000 college students across Michigan were expecting for the fall semester.

"500 dollars is a lot for someone in college," Beyer says, noting that she works two jobs to meet her tuition needs.

Those $500 are now in limbo. The state senate voted to eliminate the Michigan Promise program to shave some $140 million dollars off a 2010 budget that's already $2.8 billion in the hole.

But Gov. Jennifer Granholm said Wednesday she won't sign any such change into law.

"We are going to have a Michigan Promise scholarship next year," she said. "The question is, does it have to take a slight haircut?"

MSU, for one, is taking that promise to heart. The school is crediting students the $500 they would receive under the promise scholarship. And one financial aid officer says it's the only fair solution.

"It seems kind of self-contradictory for us to say, 'We want more college graduates here in Michigan,' and then not even fund what we said we were going to fund," says MSU's Val Meyers.

And not all Michigan schools can afford to match MSU's sacrifice. Central Michigan and Oakland University likely won't have the cash flow to cover their students' costs,, and even MSU admits if the state ultimately breaks its promise, students will be left on the hook.

Meyers says, either way, the state has an obligation to decide sooner instead of later.

"I think it's more difficult for the students and parents to deal with the uncertainty."


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