Higher Education Reforms

The Governor Plans Significant Reforms To The Tuition Incentive Program In Her Higher Education Budget Proposal

Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Michigan legislature are looking into a proposal to amend the Tuition Incentive Program that benefits certain college students.

As part of Granholm’s proposed higher education budget, she is proposing a cap on the amount of that will be covered by the government for TIP students. The TIP is a two phase financial assistance program that helps qualified students pay tuition and make college more affordable.

Phase I covers tuition costs and mandatory fee charges for eligible students who are enrolled in an associate degree or certificate program (or their first two years) at a participating Michigan community college, public university, and other educational institutions.

Phase II provides $2,000 total tuition assistance for credits earned in a four year program at a Michigan degree-granting college or university.

Melissa DiVietri, a print management student that benefits from the TIP said, “The TIP scholarship is important for my education because it adds to my forms of financial aid and helps cover most of my tuition.”

Granholm’s proposal is that the TIP would cap the tuition at an average community college rate. For Ferris TIP students this means that the change to the program would only cover $84 per credit hour instead of the current $316 per credit hour. Her proposal would also eliminate the Phase II portion of the program.

DiVietri said the changes to the scholarship will greatly affect university students and may “force them to go to a community college.”

Ferris President, David Eisler said, “We have lobbied this issue hard at both the [Michigan] Senate and House level.” Students would have to make up the tuition difference the TIP would cover. He projected this would be around $7,300.

Early last week the Senate Higher Education Committee was on campus and Eisler strongly argued against Granholm’s proposal.

In his remarks he said, “The governor’s proposal would be devastating for the program and our students.”  

Late last week the Senate Higher Education Committee put out the higher education budget.  In it they restored the roughly $6.3 million TIP monies Granholm had cut. The House will next be holding hearing in Lansing regarding the issue, where Eisler plans to testify.

“This seemed pretty bleak when the Governor issued her budget, but we are gaining traction on the issue,” said Eisler. “We still need to work through the House, but we are having positive results.”

Even though the fate of the TIP scholarship is uncertain, DiVietri said, “I am still looking for grants and scholarship online because there is never enough money for
education.” n