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Michigan Representatives to Whitmer: Reconsider Veto of Tuition Assistance for Students in Need

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Washington, October 8, 2019 | Josh Paciorek (202-225-3761) | comments

Washington, D.C.—U.S. Representatives Fred Upton (MI-06), Jack Bergman (MI-01), Bill Huizenga (MI-02), John Moolenaar (MI-04), Tim Walberg (MI-07), and Paul Mitchell (MI-10) today sent a letter to Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer asking her to reconsider vetoing funding for the Michigan Tuition Grant. This grant program provides students, often from low and middle-income backgrounds, up to $2,400 per year to attend one of Michigan’s independent colleges. In Michigan’s 6th District, Kalamazoo College is one such institution with around 350 students who receive the Michigan Tuition Grant.

“We are disappointed to learn of your decision to veto funding for the Michigan Tuition Grant.  All too frequently we hear from constituents who are concerned about how they will pay for college,” the lawmakers wrote in the letter. “While $2,400 may not seem substantial to some people, in the hands of a struggling student and family, this grant can mean the difference between continuing their education, having to withdraw from school, or having to take out additional loans and saddle themselves with deeper debt.”

The full text of the letter is below and a PDF can be downloaded here.

Dear Governor Whitmer:

In today’s economy, access to post-secondary education is key to economic mobility and one that can transform the lives of individual students and their families.  Unfortunately, the cost of attending college has rapidly increased over the years – far outpacing the rate of inflation. These increased costs have caused particular stress among students from low and middle-income backgrounds.  Those that decide to pursue higher education often turn to financial assistance to help put their dream of continuing education within their reach. 

We are disappointed to learn of your decision to veto funding for the Michigan Tuition Grant.  All too frequently we hear from constituents who are concerned about how they will pay for college.  The Michigan Tuition Grant program provides students up to $2,400 per year to attend one of Michigan’s independent colleges.  While $2,400 may not seem substantial to some people, in the hands of a struggling student and family, this grant can mean the difference between continuing their education, having to withdraw from school, or having to take out additional loans and saddle themselves with deeper debt.

A college-educated workforce is also essential for our evolving Michigan economy. Evidence shows that for every $1 a state invests in higher education, it receives up to $4.50 in return in higher tax revenue and lowers spending on public assistance.  We sincerely hope that for the good of Michigan students, their families, and our economy, you will seriously reconsider your veto, which undid the critical funding for the Michigan Tuition Grant program. 

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