Press Release/Statement | May 25, 2023

TICAS Statement on Michigan’s FY24 Budget

Author: Statement of Onjila Odeneal

“TICAS applauds the legislature’s commitment to improve student preparedness for academic success, increase student access to basic needs supports, and provide clearer pathways to college and careers. We specifically appreciate the legislature’s investments in:

  • Making high-quality tutoring in every region of the state more accessible and boosting preparedness for postsecondary study;
  • Incentivizing schools to support students and families in completing the FAFSA;
  • Providing the necessary resources for schools to support students to meet their basic needs, work on their mental health, and succeed academically; and
  • Creating new pathways and programs to promote clearer postsecondary and career pipelines for students.

“Altogether, these investments will help further streamline the education to career pipeline for students, increasing the likelihood that they will pursue a postsecondary education, persist to a degree or credential, and go on to thrive in the Michigan economy.

“To maximize the impact of these and other investments for students and the state, we recommend investing to close the current state financial aid gaps for the student cohorts described below.

Age gaps of state financial aid support

“Students ages 22-25 do not have access to state financial aid to engage in credential-seeking pathways with the current eligibility requirements.

  • Two-year state aid resources: There are currently three (3) two-year programs in the state: Tuition Incentive Program (TIP), Reconnect, and Michigan Achievement Scholarship (MAS).
    • TIP eligibility is accessible up to 4 years after high school graduation. Approximately up to the age of 21/22
    • Reconnect eligibility starts at the age of 25
    • MAS eligibility is accessible to graduation class of 2023 up to 18 months after graduation. Ages 18-19

“We recommend that the state lower the age for Reconnect eligibility to 21 as proposed by the Governor but do so permanently. By expanding the Reconnect program to include these students the state will remedy a long-term access gap in state aid and increase utilization of the allocated funding for Reconnect.

Resource gap for Classes 2020-2022

“High school graduating classes of 2020 – 2022 were hit the hardest, not only in their secondary experiences of learning and support losses but also heavily impacted by the uncertainty of postsecondary aspirations. While many opportunities and resources have been made available by the state in light of the outcomes of the pandemic, these resources unfortunately have not been extended to these students that were impacted in ways that heavily played a toll in their decisions to pursue postsecondary opportunities.

“We recommend extending eligibility for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship to the Classes of 2020-2022 temporarily or adopting the Executive recommendation for the Reconnect Bachelor’s pathway, Doing so, will also help the state boost lagging enrollment among a key population and limit the long-term negative economic impacts that not pursuing a degree or credential has on young people and on the state as a whole.

“We also applaud the Michigan Department of Treasury’s recent changes to the Tuition Incentive Program. The Department agreed to raise TIP’s coverage of mandatory fees from $250 per semester to $450 per semester. This change will help to increase the affordability of college courses for thousands of low-income students, increasing the likelihood that these students are able to be academically successful and complete a degree or credential.

“Our fact sheet details how the investments proposed in the Governor’s and legislative budgets align well with TICAS’ Michigan 2023 policy priorities. We look forward to working alongside the Governor and the Legislature to make these critical investments a reality. The state has created significant momentum in expanding supports for Michigan’s students and families. Thoughtful implementation is crucial to streamlining students’ pathways from K-12 education to postsecondary education and beyond.”