Letter from the Editor: Michigan Promise Officially Broken

Governor Jennifer Granholm approved a state budget for the 09-10 fiscal year that eliminated all funding for the Michigan Promise scholarship.

The Promise scholarships, which would have provided between $1,000 and $4,000 for over 90,000 qualifying Michigan students, were meant to help ease the cost of college and promote post high school education opportunities in the state.

One of the pillars of any strong economy is an educated society. As we continue to eliminate chances for the people of Michigan to participate in higher education, we prolong our financial detriment and create a generation of ill-equipped young people to inherit the responsibility.

The problem isn’t the budget process, it’s that those responsible for developing this budget benefit more from the battle and less from the progress. For months the Michigan Promise funding has been up for debate. This didn’t sneak up on anyone. But it’s better if the candidate is shown shaking a fist and sputtering red faced in support of or against an item, like the Michigan Promise, to keep interest and focus on the budget process so that subsequent finger pointing after the signing may commence.

There is a devastating need for state level action in the time between elections, not just the run-up to them.

Was the proposed amount for the Promise scholarships of $140 million too much to tell the leaders of tomorrow that the government is putting its trust into them? It’s possible that cutting the funding helped to bring about a budget resolution and keep the deficit from getting any bigger, but at the cost of Michigan’s future, that’s a pretty high price to pay.