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Middle Class Scholarship Will Give University-Bound Students $5,500 A Year

October 4, 2022

Article courtesy of MIRS News for SBAM’s Lansing Watchdog newsletter

Public university-bound recipients of the new Michigan Achievement Scholarship program will be able to receive up to $5,500 a year for five years, independent university students will be able to get up to $4,000 a year for five years, private trade school students $2,000 a year for two years and community college students $2,750 a year for up to three years.

The stipulations were among the many guidelines created Wednesday for the new scholarship program geared toward middle-class families. The new guidelines were passed through the SB 842 supplemental.

The scholarships are projected to double Michigan’s financial aid recipients from around 60,000 to more than 120,000. It’s also projected to increase the number of students receiving no need-based grants or scholarships from 13,000 to 25,000 by the program’s fifth year.

“Many families are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of college,” said Sen. Kim LaSata (R-Niles), chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges.

She said the assistance will make “a tremendous difference for families and could really help students get the education they deserve,” while additionally tending to the decrease in skilled workers.

The cost of the Michigan Achievement Scholarship Program is estimated at more than $168 million for the coming Fiscal Year (FY) 2023. It is projected to build up to more than $292 million for FY 2024, over $402 million for FY 2025 and later surpass $562 million in FY 2027.

“These are students and families who often have to rely 100% on loans to help cover the cost of obtaining a degree or certificate,” the Senate Republicans’ handout reads. “Michigan students and parents take out an average of $7,000 per year for higher education costs. Implementation of the MI Achievement Scholarship will significantly reduce or eliminate the need for student loans for thousands of Michigan families.”

Under the Michigan Achievement Scholarship outline, recipients of community college and public or private university assistance must have been a state resident for at least the last 12 months. They must be a first-time enrollee in an eligible institution within 15 months of graduating from high school or attaining an equivalency certificate.

Students who also received a Michigan achievement scholarship during a previous academic year would also qualify. After completing the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA), the student would be eligible if they have an anticipated family contribution of $25,000 or less – roughly translating to an average household income of $120,000 annually, according to Senate Republicans.

Those who previously obtained an associate or baccalaureate degree would not be eligible.

When asked why Wednesday’s supplemental bill was necessary, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said he will “always support smart increases in funds for scholarships for students, especially for those middle class folks that (often) are left out.”

“And lastly, I want to send a strong signal to the world that Michigan is serious about being competitive,” Shirkey added. 

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