Senate Democrats Work to Save College Scholarships from Republicans’ Budget Knife
Republican-proposed Higher Education budget cuts funding for Michigan Promise and other college scholarships, nursing grants
LANSING -Senate Democrats tried to protect essential funding today for programs that educate our workforce and diversify our economy as Senate Republicans slashed scholarships and grants for higher education. The Senate Republicans most severe move was to cut all funding for the Michigan Promise Grants program except for a meager $100 placeholder for the statewide scholarships.
We must keep our promise of granting Michigan citizens access to an affordable college education, said Sen. Liz Brater (D-Ann Arbor), who sponsored the amendment to restore the Michigan Promise Scholarships. With our traditional manufacturing job base shrinking and our unemployment rate continuing to rise, our kids need a college education now more than ever to qualify for the jobs of the 21st Century. This is an extremely shortsighted decision that sets our students and our state back even further.
Senate Republicans introduced and passed their versions of the Community College, Department of Education, and the Higher Education budgets. They included significant cuts that undermine Michigans ability to prepare students for the economy of the future, and Senate Democrats sought to combat them with amendments that would:
- Protect funding for the Michigan Promise Grants program that offers $4,000 scholarships to qualified high school and college students to pursue a college education.
- Restore $89.8 million for the Michigan College Access Grants and other state-funded scholarship programs that Michigan families depend on to send their kids to college.
- Preserve $1.9 million in nursing grant money to help train students for nursing jobs?one of the few growing fields in the state.
- Restore renaissance zone reimbursement funding that returns local dollars that are mandated for community colleges as part of the Community College budget.
The health care and nursing fields are one of the few industries that are growing in Michigan, yet Senate Republicans want to cut funding to help prepare Michigan residents to fill those jobs, said Senator John J. Gleason (D-Flushing), who introduced an amendment to protect nursing grant money today. At a time when our state and our communities are looking to the Michigan Legislature for help, these cuts are chipping away at our states ability to survive.
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