Whitmer proposes plan providing tuition assistance, scholarships

Posted at 8:29 PM, Feb 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-12 20:29:29-05

LANSING, Mich. — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer proposed a plan to provide scholarships for Michigan’s high school students during her State of the State address Tuesday night.

Her plan includes three paths for workers and students in Michigan: advanced training for adults already in the workforce, scholarship opportunities for high school graduates not going to a four-year college and tuition assistance for students at four-year colleges that aren’t for-profit.

The first part of her plan is titled Michigan Reconnect, designed after a similar plan that was launched in Tennessee last year.

Whitmer said the program will train adults seeking industry certifications or associate degrees, and help Michigan businesses find qualified candidates for job openings.

“As workplaces evolve, many people will need to acquire new skills to advance — or even just to keep the jobs they have now,” she said.

The second path in Whitmer’s plan, the Michigan Opportunity Scholarship, will guarantee two years of debt-free community college for graduating high school students who qualify. Whitmer said the scholarship will be launched in the spring and available to all students in fall of 2020.

Whitmer didn’t specify what qualifications the students will need to have.

The third path in Whitmer’s plan addresses the cost of tuition at four-year colleges in Michigan. She said Michigan had the 10th-highest average cost of tuition for public schools at almost $22,000 a year.

“It’s a complete barrier for a lot of people in our state,” she said.

Students who graduate from a Michigan high school with at least a B-average will receive two years of tuition assistance at a four-year school that isn’t for-profit.