Whitmer Says Recent News Coverage Reinforces Need for Statewide College Tuition Plan
Success of Kalamazoo Promise draws national attention, renews interest in Senate Democrats' Michigan 2020 Plan to offer free college tuition to all students
Lansing – Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer continued her call for action today on the Senate Democrats' Michigan 2020 Plan to offer free college tuition to all Michigan high school graduates. Recent news coverage of and increased national interest in the success of the Kalamazoo Promise have illustrated the personal and economic benefits of the program, success the Michigan 2020 Plan stands to replicate statewide.
“The Kalamazoo Promise has been a shining example for our state and our nation of how investing in our young people can impact and improve our public education, our economy, and our communities,” Whitmer said. “As the concept of offering free college tuition to high school graduates continues to attract positive interest by the media and policymakers in other states, I hope it will renew the Legislature's interest in our Michigan 2020 Plan to implement a Promise-type proposal statewide in Michigan.”
The New York Times Magazine ran an in-depth feature on the Kalamazoo Promise last weekend. The Kalamazoo Gazette has written several follow up articles on the Promise and its impact on the area. In addition to the coverage of the Kalamazoo Promise this week, The Detroit News ran an article today that says Michigan continues to lag behind the country in producing college graduates, and there has been a corresponding decline in median income.
Here is a sampling of recent articles on the success of the Kalamazoo Promise and the benefits of offering free college tuition to Michigan high school graduates:
“The Promise was created against a backdrop of recent economic thought that considers investment in education better than nearly every other kind of developmental effort when it comes to promoting economic growth.” “Why These Kids Get a Free Ride to College,” Ted C. Fishman, New York Times Magazine, 09/13/12: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/16/magazine/kalamazoo-mich-the-city-that-pays-for-college.html
“More than 90 percent of students eligible for The Kalamazoo Promise in the Class of 2006 have attended at least one semester of college and at least one-third have earned bachelor's degrees to date, numbers well above the national average for that age group, according the latest data released by Promise officials.” “Kalamazoo Promise's First Class Outperforms National Numbers on College Completion,” Julie Mack, The Kalamazoo Gazette, 09/14/12: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/09/first_class_of_kalamazoo_promi.html
“There's some evidence that the high cost of college in the United States undermines college completion rates, and is a major reason why other nations have jumped ahead of us in the proportion of residents with college degrees. …Multiple people suggested that we should return to a system of putting more taxpayer money into higher education to make it more affordable, which would improve college access and help individuals as well as communities as a whole.” “Poll: Should The Kalamazoo Promise Be a Statewide Program,” Julie Mack, The Kalamazoo Gazette, 09/16/12: http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2012/09/poll_should_the_kalamazoo_prom.html
“Politicians and educators have said for years that the key to improving the state's future is to create an economy that relies more heavily on college graduates. But the state now ranks 37th in percentage of college graduates ” 25.6 percent, well below the national rate of 28.5 percent. And it now ranks 35th in median household income, down from 27th just five years ago.” “Census: Michigan Lags in Producing Michigan College Grads, Sees Income Drop,” Mike Wilkinson, The Detroit News, 9/20/12: http://www.detroitnews.com/article/20120920/METRO/209200373#ixzz270w9QmTx
Details of the Michigan 2020 Plan, including how it can be implemented without raising taxes, can be found online at www.michigan2020.com.