Michigan Promise Zones Association Endorses Scholarship Legislation

Eleven Promise Zones in Michigan support statewide efforts

to increase postsecondary attainment

April 17, 2019 - LANSING, MICH. – The Michigan Promise Zones Association (MPZA), today voiced  support for legislation that would enact the MI Opportunity Scholarship and Michigan Reconnect. House Bill 4464, introduced by Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D - Davison) and Senate Bill 267 introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D- Flint) support the “Michigan Opportunity Initiative” to establish a tuition assistance program for undergraduate students attending colleges, universities and junior and community colleges. House Bill 4456 and Senate Bill 268 establish a financial aid program for adults as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect proposal.   

The two scholarship initiatives were first announced by Governor Gretchen Whitmer in her Feb. 12 State of the State address. Today, Whitmer joined legislators and Michigan leaders to show support of these bills. MPZA represents the 11 communities awarding Promise Zone scholarships to students.

“We have learned from our work in the Promise Zones that when we take down the barriers to higher education, we all win,” said MPZA chair Ellen Lipton. “This commitment of new financial aid from the state will allow us to do bigger and better things for the communities and students our scholarship programs serve.”

Ten Promise Zones were established through bipartisan legislation signed into law by Gov. Jennifer Granholm in 2009 and were inspired by The Kalamazoo Promise, the nation’s first universal, place-based scholarship program. An additional five Promise Zones were authorized through legislation signed by Gov. Rick Snyder in 2017.

The 11 operating Promise Zones are located in the Baldwin, Battle Creek, Benton Harbor, Hazel Park, Lansing, Pontiac and Saginaw school districts, the Muskegon Area and Newaygo County intermediate school districts, the City of Detroit and Mason County. Four other Promise Zones are under development.

By law, the Promise Zones must provide all eligible students a tuition-free path to an associate degree, but many of the existing Promise Zone scholarships can also be used to attend BA granting institutions and technical schools.   Promise Zones also provide non-financial support for the college bound students they serve and work with other college access organizations to get more students “to and through” college.  

The Michigan Promise Zones Association, formed in 2016, is an affiliate of the Michigan College Access Network.



Media Contact: 
Chuck Wilbur 
Cell: 517-881-2689

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