The state budget impasse in Lansing has left 544 students at Lawrence Technological University scrambling to cover tuition costs after a need-based education grant program was vetoed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as part of an ongoing dispute with the Legislature.
Dozens of Lawrence Tech students will travel to Lansing on Dec. 4 to lobby for the restoration of the education grants. They will visit their state representatives and senators and participate in a rally organized by the Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities (MICU).
“We’re saddened that vulnerable students are the ones losing in Lansing’s budget battle,” said Lawrence Tech President Virinder Moudgil, who will be traveling with the students to Lansing on Dec. 4. “The Michigan Tuition Grant helps ease the burden for college students who need financial assistance, and we hope this grant can be restored in Lansing so that our students aren’t held back.”
Needs-based Michigan Tuition grants had already been awarded to nearly 17,000 students at Michigan’s independent colleges and universities for the current school year. The 2018-2019 grant amount was $2,400 per full-time student.
Students who receive the tuition grant make up approximately 30 percent of all students receiving need-based financial aid from the State of Michigan. The funding was helping more than 6,000 first-generation college students, more than 200 veterans and 5,646 recipients above the age of 25.
“Eliminating this funding will drastically impact need-based students’ ability to pursue higher education, putting their futures at risk,” MICU President Robert Lefevre said. “Lansing’s budget mess is hurting Michigan students and this issue needs to be fixed before even one student gives up on their future.”
These tuition grant also represent a considerable savings for Michigan taxpayers. A bachelor’s degree from a public university in Michigan costs the state $28,534 and an associate’s degree from a community college costs the state $39,643. Michigan Tuition Grant students cost the state $9,600 for a bachelor’s degree, or $2,400 for each of four years.
The tuition grant saves an average of $10,400 in loan interest per student. Elimination of this grant could reduce the number of individuals with bachelor’s degrees in the state by up to 12,000 per year, according to MICU.