Promise Scholarships, K-12 Funding Closer To Cuts

By: Lauren Zakalik Email
By: Lauren Zakalik Email

College students depending on the Michigan Promise Scholarship to help pay their tuition may need to start looking for a part-time job.

"This is the promise we made to 96,000 students. I feel we have to keep that promise," says State Rep. Joan Bauer, (D) Lansing, who also heads up the Higher Education committee.

Bauer was one of just two committee members (the other was Jim Barcia, (D) Bay City) who voted against cutting the scholarship; her vote wasn't enough to stop the cuts from heading to a full vote.

"Even though this helped move the budget process along, I could not vote for a budget that cut $140 million in promise grants, scholarships promised to our young people and students," she says.

One Democrat who did vote to do that is State Rep. George Cushingberry, (D) Detroit, who chairs the House Appropriations Committee.

"Short term pain for long-term gain," is the way Cushingberry describes his decision. "I have to proportionately cut everything in the short-term so we have long-term gain."

"You're not talking about moving from mac and cheese to ramen noodles at MSU," says political observer Jeff Williams. "You're talking about a student who can either afford or not afford the bill at LCC."

Williams says coming one step closer Wednesday to gutting our college funding is a big sacrifice.

"To the families that counted on that money, it sure sounds like a promise that was revoked," Williams says.

But nothing is set in stone; higher education and K-12 funding bills, along with others, still need to be voted on in full, not just by the committees who approve or disprove them first.

And the snails-pace process has some thinking this could bubble over into a continuation budget.

Governor Granholm has already responded to the Promise Scholarship coming one step closer to being cut. Her spokeswoman tells wilx.com:

"Governor Granholm strongly opposes the higher education conference report. The governor wants a budget that protects the Michigan Promise scholarship that helps families pay tuition. We applaud Representative Bauer and Senator Barcia for standing up for Michigan college students and their families."


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