LANSING, Mich. – State Sen. Kim LaSata on Wednesday sponsored legislation to allocate funding from the fiscal year 2023 budget to a new scholarship program to help students cover the cost of schooling at one of Michigan’s higher education institutions.
“Many families are struggling to keep up with the rising cost of college,” said LaSata, R-Niles. “This assistance could make a tremendous difference for families and could really help students get the education they deserve.”
As the Legislature worked to complete the fiscal 2023 budget over the summer, funding was set aside to further negotiate a scholarship program to help Michigan students with the cost of attending a college or university.
Senate Bill 842 would allocate funding to create the MI Achievement Scholarship and outline criteria that prospective awardees would need to meet to be considered eligible. The scholarship would be available to community colleges and universities, as well as qualified occupational training programs and trade schools.
“We’re experiencing a decrease in skilled workers and many positions in the trades are left unfilled due to lack of qualified workers,” LaSata said. “Expanding the eligibility of this scholarship to include such training will help immensely as we continue to both strengthen and diversify Michigan’s workforce. At a time when businesses are struggling to find qualified workers, this scholarship will help train workers and fill jobs. “
The MI Achievement Scholarship would cover a maximum of $ 2,750 per year for up to three years at a community college; a maximum of $ 5,500 per year for up to five years at a public university; a maximum of $ 4,000 per year for five years at an independent or nonprofit college or university; and a maximum of $ 2,000 per year for up to two years at a qualified occupational training program or private trade school.
Under Michigan’s current financial aid programs, approximately 60,000 students receive some form of financial aid. With full implementation of the MI Achievement Scholarship, that number is expected to double, reaching more than 120,000 students.
“On average, Michigan students and parents take out approximately $ 7,000 per year for higher education costs. These scholarships will significantly reduce or potentially even eliminate the need for student loans for thousands of people, ”LaSata said.
The fiscal year 2023 budget included a $ 250 million appropriation to fund the scholarship in its first year – which will begin with the 2023/2024 academic year.
SB 842 was ultimately approved by the Senate on Wednesday afternoon and has been sent to the House of Representatives for further consideration.