Whitmer Calls for Action on Michigan 2020 Higher Education Plan at Senate Finance Committee Hearing
Committee takes first step on important legislation, hears testimony on plan to provide free college tuition for all Michigan high school graduates
Lansing – Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer was joined today by economist Lou Glazer, Kalamazoo Promise Executive Administrator Bob Jorth and several parents and high school and college students to testify before the Senate Finance Committee in support of the Michigan 2020 Plan to offer free college tuition to all Michigan high school graduates. No opposition to the bills was presented, and Michigan families anxiously await the committee's vote on the legislation.
“Today's hearing featured powerful testimony from economists, education experts, parents and students, all of whom voiced their support for this plan to get Michigan back on track,” said Whitmer. “Whether it's creating jobs and growing our economy, helping financially strapped families send their kids to college, or allowing our students to graduate with minimal debt, the Michigan 2020 Plan is a win for everyone in the state. I sincerely hope the committee acts quickly to send these bills to the full Senate for consideration.”
Under the Michigan 2020 Plan, high school graduates in Michigan, whether they attended a public, private or home school, would be eligible for an annual grant for their higher education costs. The maximum amount of the grant would be equal to the median tuition level (currently $9,575/year) of all of Michigan's public universities. Students could choose to attend any of Michigan's community colleges or public universities and use that money toward the cost of tuition, books and other eligible expenses.
“College attainment is now trumping everything in terms of explaining prosperity, a broad middle class and higher income at the personal level,” said Lou Glazer, President of Michigan Future, Inc. “By far, the single best predictor of both a state's per capita income and a metropolitan area’s per capita income is the proportion of adults with a four year degree.”
“Coming from a single-parent home, with my mom supporting me at MSU and my older brother at Western, paying for college has been a difficult task for us,” said Rawley Van Fossen, a student at Michigan State University. ”Let me be that last class that has to worry about paying for college and having debt.”
Senator Whitmer and supporters of the Michigan 2020 Plan are optimistic that the Senate Finance Committee will hold an actual vote on the legislation soon, and she encourages Michigan residents to contact their legislators and tell them to support the Michigan 2020 Plan.
More information on the Michigan 2020 Plan is available at www.michigan2020.com.