Lawmakers Leave Out Promise

$140 million for scholarships stricken from state budget

Katie Tibbe has already started the process of finding financial aid for next year, as funding for the Michigan Promise scholarships has been left out of the budget to be sent to the governor.

“I’ll have to take out more private loans to cover it,” said Tibbe, a junior in the Dental Hygiene program. Tibbe has been relying on updates from Ferris’ financial aid department to keep her updated on the status of her Promise scholarship. The Promise scholarship amounts to about $1,300 a year for Tibbe.

An estimated 96,000 students, like Tibbe, could be seeking alternative means to help pay for their higher education.

The budget, which before the proposed cuts from last week was $2.8 billion, has been reduced to $1.8 billion between the state House and Senate with the Promise scholarships totaling $140 million being removed in full.

Federal stimulus dollars are expected to fill in the rest of the state’s budget shortfall.

Megan Brown, a spokesperson for Governor Jennifer Granholm, said there would be continued work before the budget is officially presented to the governor sometime this week.

The funds were credited to student accounts, but not included in any disbursements.

“They were only awarded so students could see them as part of their financial aid award,” said Director of Financial Aid at Ferris State University, Rob Wirt.

Ferris awarded over $1.8 million in Promise scholarships last year to 1,825 students in the 08-09 academic year.

The completed budget could potentially be vetoed by Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, at the risk of a government shut down if a new resolution is not passed before Oct. 1 when the completed budget is due. Sources close to the governor said there is a lot at stake and the governor continues to support the Michigan’s Promise scholarship program.