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Michigan NewsMichigan approves budget with tuition-free community college, greater preschool access

Michigan approves budget with tuition-free community college, greater preschool access

Lansing, Michigan – The Michigan legislature just enacted a budget including provisions for tuition-free community college and increased access to preschool education, therefore significantly advancing educational access. With $23.4 billion set out for education among the $82.5 billion statewide budget, it seeks to give more chances for Michigan citizens to progress their education free from the burden of tuition.

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The Community College Guarantee program will be supported under the current budget with $330 million—a $30 million increase from the year before. This program eliminates income restrictions, therefore enabling any Michigan resident to get free tuition at in-district community colleges. This extension expands on the Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which earlier provided different levels of financial help based on the kind of university someone attended. The proposal now calls for more help for private college students and extra perks for Pell Grant recipients.

Though the budget advances higher education, it does not meet Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s goal for universal free preschool. Although not totally universal, the Great Start Readiness Plan will greatly enhance access to free preschool for households making up to 400% of the federal poverty line, or about $124,800 annually. Higher income earners could also be able to enroll their children should spots remain available following the application of qualified families. Based on House Fiscal Agency projections, this might help around 5,000 youngsters annually.

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Despite the advantages, the budget has drawn criticism especially from House Republicans who contend that, given diminished epidemic surpluses, the expenditure is irresponsible. Concerned about the financial viability of these initiatives, State Senator Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, said the action was “extremely unwise and reckless.”

The budget for education—which dropped slightly from last year’s $24.3 billion—was approved on June 27. Reflecting the controversial character of the budget debates, it barely got it through the House and the Senate along party lines.

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Families must show proof of age, income verification, residence proof, and custody papers if appropriate to register their children in the programs as they get ready to seize these new opportunities. With this new measure, the state of Michigan is significantly advancing the accessibility of education to every resident.

The Michigan legislature enacted a budget including provisions for tuition-free community college and increased access to preschool education
Courtesy of Gov. Whitmer on X

The scholarship expansion would also give more dollars to students attending private and public universities.

“As a parent, I know our kids are our number one priority, which is why this budget puts students first by making historic investments to improve learning outcomes from pre-K through college, so that every child can get a world-class education,” Gov. Whitmer said. “Together, we are getting things done that make a real difference in people’s lives and ensuring everyone can ‘make it’ in Michigan and will continue to improve learning outcomes so every student can succeed.”