Michigan College Access Network supports Bills proposing the Michigan Opportunity Initiative Act and Michigan Reconnect Grant Act

Bills will help increase access and reduce barriers to postsecondary education

April 18, 2019 - LANSING, Mich. – The Michigan College Access Network (MCAN) expressed their support for legislation introduced recently by lawmakers. MCAN joined Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and legislators today at an event on the campus of Lansing Community College to show this support. These bills would increase access to financial aid programs for recent graduates and adults to further their education. House Bill 4464 and Senate Bill 267 establish a tuition assistance program as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Opportunity Scholarships proposal.  House Bill 4456 and Senate Bill 268 establish a financial aid program for adults as part of Gov. Whitmer’s Michigan Reconnect proposal. 

“Everyone should have the opportunity to further their education, including adults without a postsecondary credential,” said Ryan Fewins-Bliss, interim executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “MCAN supports these four bills because they offer a critical step in the right direction in helping provide much needed financial assistance for Michigan residents who want to pursue education beyond high school.”

HB 4464 and SB 267 are part of the Michigan Opportunity Initiative Act, first introduced by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer. HB 4464 was introduced by seven state representatives, including: Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D - Davison), Rep. Nate Shannon (D- Sterling Heights), Rep. Brenda Carter (D- Pontiac), Rep. Matt Koleszar, (D – Plymouth), Lori Stone (D - Warren), Kristy Pagan (D - Canton), and Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D - Detroit). SB 267 was introduced by Sen. Jim Ananich (D- Flint). The proposed legislation would offer high school students either debt-free attendance at a community college or two years of assistance toward a four-year degree.

HB 4456 and SB 268 are part of Gov. Whitmer’s proposed Michigan Reconnect Grant Act. HB 4456 was introduced by eight state representatives: Rep. Ben Frederick (R –Owosso), Rep. Sarah Anthony (D- Lansing), Rep. Scott VanSingel (R– Grant), Rep. Sheryl Kennedy (D– Davison), Rep. Julie Calley (R- Portland), Rep. Joseph Tate (D- Detroit), Rep. Nate Shannon (D- Sterling Heights) and Rep. Gregory Markkanen (R- Hancock). SB 268 was introduced by Sen. Kenneth Horn (R- Frankenmuth). The proposed legislation would provide debt-free tuition for up to two years for students over the age of 25, already in the workforce and seeking an associate degree or industry-related credentials. 

“Michigan has made important strides in increasing the number of residents who pursue and complete a degree or credential beyond high school, and it is critical that we continue to build that momentum,” said Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing). “We know that all Michigan residents have the potential and we want to make sure that they have the opportunity by providing much-needed financial assistance.”

The Michigan Opportunity Scholarship and Michigan Reconnect Program were first proposed in Gov. Whitmer’s 2019 State of the State address.

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About Michigan College Access Network 
As the leader in the state’s college access movement, MCAN’s mission is to increase Michigan’s college readiness, participation and completion rates, particularly among low-income students, first-generation college going students, and students of color. For the eighth year in a row, Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate has increased — from 35.7 percent of 25-to-64-year-olds possessing at least an associate degree in 2008, to 41 percent in 2018. Additionally, it is estimated another 4 percent of Michiganders have a high-quality certificate, bringing Michigan’s official attainment rate to 45 percent as of 2019.  It is MCAN’s goal to increase Michigan’s postsecondary educational attainment rate to 60 percent by the year 2025. For more information, visit micollegeaccess.org

Media Contact: Christopher Tremblay
Email: christopher(a)micollegeaccess.org
Cell: 814-504-5650

 

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