FLINT (WJRT) - (11/6/17) - The city of Flint is now officially a 'promise' zone.
That means high school students in the city of Flint will have the opportunity to use free scholarship money to pursue a higher education.
"This is a step in bridging the gap for public education to education of higher learning," said State Representative Sheldon Neeley.
Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 98 into law at Kettering University Monday afternoon.
For the first 2 years, 2 million dollars in private funding from Consumers Energy and the Detroit Pistons will jump start the program. After that, the program will rely on a cut of state education tax revenue.
"We're not asking other people to pay for it. It's our own community saying we think its enough value to take some of that growth, put it back into our own community," said State Senator Jim Ananich.
Governor Snyder called the program another step in the right direction for the city of Flint.
"This is a place the promise should be. There's a way to give young people great opportunity, to take people that want to learn, that lack the resources to have those opportunities, and to provide those resources," Snyder said.
Currently, there are 10 other promise zones in the state, where particularly graduation rates for African Americans are low.
"Making sure the financial needs of those with low to moderate income levels can get to a higher level of education. This is very important for communities of color and communities, especially with low to moderate income levels," Neeley said.
The scholarships could be given out starting as soon as next Fall.
Specifics of applying, requirements and where and how much will be available for students is still being worked out.