Recapping the State of the State
February 18, 2019
By Brian Calley
In her State of the State address Governor Whitmer covered a wide range of issues, but many of the details will not be available until the budget is presented next month. However, she did set one goal that really caught our attention. She wants 60% of Michiganders to have a post-secondary education credential by 2030, up from 44% today. She outlined three pathways to make this happen.
1) Community college-for-all pledge
This pledge was part of Governor Whitmer’s proposed MI Opportunity Scholarship and it is designed for high school graduates who may not want to pursue a four-year degree. She set a goal for this program to be available to students by the fall of 2020.
2) Michigan Reconnect
This proposal is meant for adults needing to acquire new skills to advance or keep their jobs, and for displaced workers that need more skills to find a well-paying job. Michigan Reconnect would provide a tuition-free pathway to an “in-demand” certificate or an associate degree for people 25 or older.
Under both of these proposals, the state would pay the tuition not covered by Pell grants or other scholarship awards.
3) Expand Access to Four Year Degrees
The final path outlined by the Governor was for students who want to pursue a traditional four-year degree. The MI Opportunity scholarship (mentioned above) would provide two years of tuition assistance at four-year public or not-for-profit private colleges. It would cover Michigan high school graduates carrying a B average.
Unlike the first two programs mentioned, this scholarship would be limited to $2,500 per year for two years and would only be available to households with household income below $80,000.
We hear regularly from our members about talent shortages in many technical fields. The Governor’s office has reached out to SBAM to work with her team on increasing the number of Michiganders with post high school educational credentials.