SOUTHFIELD—Tuesday at Lawrence Technological University, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed bipartisan legislation establishing the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which will lower the cost of college by thousands of dollars a year for the vast majority of high school graduates.
Starting with the class of 2023, high school graduates will be eligible for more financial aid from the state, up to:
- $2,750 a year if they attend a community college
- $5,500 a year if they attend a public university
- $4,000 a year if they attend a private college or university
Students will be eligible if their family demonstrates financial need when they complete the FAFSA. The Michigan Achievement Scholarship will cover:
- 94% of students attending community colleges
- 76% of students attending a public university
- 79% of students attending a private college or university
During the event, Whitmer also joined the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity to celebrate the one-year anniversary of MI New Economy, her economic plan for the state. Unveiled at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, the plan sets ambitious, achievable metrics to grow the middle class, support businesses, and invest in communities.
“Today, I am proud to sign a bipartisan bill to establish the Michigan Achievement Scholarship and lower the cost of college for the vast majority of Michiganders,” Whitmer said. “I am proud of the progress we have made to make a real difference in people’s lives. Let’s keep working together to lift 1 million families out of working poverty, upskill our workforce, expand high-speed internet, build affordable housing, and invest in child care. Our goal is to make Michigan a place where all people, businesses, and communities can thrive.”
Said LTU President Tarek Sobh: “The new Michigan Achievement Scholarship will provide foundational financial resources to help students attend Lawrence Tech and receive a high-quality STEM theory and practice education. The lower cost of higher education provided by the scholarship will have a generational impact as we facilitate and train students for a workforce of opportunity and prosperity. It is an investment that opens doors of opportunity to a variety of students attending higher education in all domains to ensure they have the skills and credentials to compete in the technological future of tomorrow. When we invest in our youth, we are investing in the future, and Lawrence Tech is here to prepare our students for a future of possibilities.”
Gov. Whitmer is pictured signing the legislation above.
Unveiled at the 2021 Mackinac Policy Conference, MI New Economy has three pillars: grow the middle class; support businesses; and invest in Michigan’s communities. Goals of the framework included:
- Lift 1 million families out of working poverty.
- Pursue the 60 by 30 goal to have 60% of Michiganders 25 and up earn a postsecondary degree or skills certificate by 2030.
- Expand access to low or no-cost child care to 150,000 families.
- Become a top 10 state for small business growth, revenue growth, and venture capital funding.
- Build 75,000 new or rehabilitated housing units
- Ensure 100% access to high-speed internet in 5 years.
Since the announcement, Michigan has achieved, or is on track to meet many of the goals.
- In August, Gov. Whitmer celebrated the bipartisan expansion of access to free or low-cost childcare for 150,000 more Michigan kids and their families, meeting the goal set by the plan.
- The state is on track to achieving nearly 50% of its 60 by 30 target, up from a previous 45%. Susan Corbin, director of the state Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, shared how her department has worked alongside the governor to help achieve these goals.
- The state is also on track to meet the other goals, with increased internet access for homes, over 16,000 new, affordable housing units over the last year, and fewer families working in poverty. According to the latest federal census data, Michigan has lifted approximately 87,000 people above the federal poverty line since 2018.
The event also featured three panel discussions with community and business leaders to discuss how the state can continue to make progress on goals outlined in the MI New Economy plan.
Many of the panels discussed barriers faced by Michiganders in attending higher education or trade school. Beverly Walker-Griffea, president of Mott Community College in Flint, said many students have food, housing, and child care challenges—and that MCC has added a “family center” to deal with them. Oakland County Executive David Coulter pointed out that “we buy bicycles for people who need a bike to get to school.” Tod Smith, Michigan director of training for the Michigan Regional Council of Carpenters, urged parents and students to consider trade school—in his case, tuition-free, with apprentice carpenters earning $20 to $40 an hour while they learn. Several panelists, including Marti Fittante, CEO of the Upper Peninsula economic development group Invest UP, said lack of broadband access remains a barrier. So does affordable housing—and Amin Irving, CEO of Novi-based Ginosko Development Co., said his company is responding by building a 105,000-square-foot factory in Romulus “that will allow us to essentially build affordable housing, apartment houses, on an assembly line.”
Encouraging entrepreneurship was also on the agenda, including representatives from Northern Initiatives, a Marquette-based small business lender serving northern and western Michigan, and 100,000 Ideas, a Flint-based entrepreneurial resources group.
Lawrence Technological University, www.ltu.edu, is one of only 13 private, technological, doctoral universities in the United States. Located in Southfield, Mich., LTU was founded in 1932, and offers more than 100 programs through its Colleges of Architecture and Design, Arts and Sciences, Business and Information Technology, and Engineering. PayScale lists Lawrence Tech among the nation’s top 11 percent of universities for alumni salaries. The Wall Street Journal ranks LTU among the nation’s top 10 percent. U.S. News and World Report lists it in the top tier of best in the Midwest colleges. Students benefit from small class sizes and a real-world, hands-on, theory and practice education with an emphasis on leadership. Activities on Lawrence Tech’s 107-acre campus include more than 60 student organizations and NAIA varsity sports.