Press Release/Statement | July 12, 2023

TICAS Applauds Michigan Governor and Legislature on Final State Budget

Author: Statement of Onjila Odeneal

“TICAS congratulates Governor Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan legislature on finalizing a bipartisan budget that prioritizes Michigan students’ college access and affordability, basic needs, and long-term academic success. The $81 billion budget includes investments in student aid including 5% increases in ongoing funding to Michigan’s public institutions. This will contribute to innovative programs and support that will help more students get to and through their college programs of choice.

“Specifically, the budget provides:• $10 million to boost FAFSA completion,

  • $150 million to ensure students are academically prepared through the MI Kids Back on Track program,
  • $70 million to lower the age of eligibility for the Michigan Reconnect program down to 21, closing the current gap in state financial aid coverage for students attending community colleges,
  • $37.8 million for student success, completion, and basic needs resources,
  • $11.3 million to create the infrastructure needed to define clearer pathways for postsecondary access and success, including more Reconnect Navigators and resources to recruit students to access state financial aid, and
  • $60 million increase to bolster the Michigan Achievement Scholarship and Reconnect programs.

“These investments build on major expansions in state financial aid over the past several years. They will work collectively to break down access and persistent barriers that have prevented thousands of students, particularly those from low-income backgrounds, from considering, pursuing, and completing higher education in recent years.

“Given the recent Supreme Court decision to significantly curtail race-conscious college admissions on top of reverberating impacts from Michigan’s ban on affirmative action in 2006 resulting in subsequent decline in minority college enrollment, we look forward to continuing to work with the Governor and legislature to center economic and racial equity for students in our higher education policies.
“This fall we will continue to work towards the remaining priorities uplifted this year for community college students gaining access to safe and affordable housing near their institutions and resources for Classes of 2020-22 who do not have access to the new state aid programs. We are optimistic about ongoing opportunities to work together and across the aisle toward real investments and solutions that address the needs of Michiganders.

“Together, we can build the foundation for narrowing and eventually closing the access and educational attainment gaps across socioeconomic status and race within the state. Investing in student access, experiences and completion wherever they enroll, no matter who they are, is how we will ensure that higher education becomes a viable pathway for all Michiganders, leading to a healthier, happier, and more sustainable community and economy.”