May 3, 2022
LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The Michigan Senate on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a spending bill that would fund new college scholarship program for high school graduates and increase operations funding for state universities by 11% overall.
The legislation, one of 14 budget bills to clear the chamber, was passed 31-4 with broad bipartisan support and will be further negotiated in talks with Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the House, which is expected to advance its own budget plan starting Wednesday. It would be the largest higher education increase and budget in decades, at a time the state has surplus tax revenue.
Republicans who control the Senate also set aside $2 billion for tax cuts in hopes that an agreement can be reached between GOP legislators and the Democratic governor, who have been at odds over the size and breadth of tax reductions. Senators split along party lines on many other spending bills Tuesday and will pass a K-12 measure Wednesday.
The Senate did overwhelmingly agree to propose awarding “achievement” scholarships to 2022 high school graduates, with a goal of continuing the new program in future years. Students attending in-state four-year colleges could get up to $6,000 a year, while those at in-state community colleges could qualify for up to $3,000 annually. More than three-quarters of this year’s graduating class would be eligible.
The aid would cover tuition or mandatory fees not already offset by need-based federal Pell Grants or Michigan’s tuition program for Medicaid recipients. The state has previously launched tuition-free community college assistance for adults ages 25 and older and frontline pandemic workers.