MIDLAND (WJRT) - (10/08/2019) - Thousands of college students are scrambling to cover tuition costs after a need-based education grant was eliminated as part of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's line-item budget vetoes.
The Michigan Tuition Grant was already awarded to nearly 17,000 students at Michigan's independent colleges and universities -- including Northwood University.
But now nearly halfway into the semester, students are forced to come up with $2,400 to cover the money they were depending on.
Randall Madison is like many college students right now -- focusing on his upcoming midterms. But now he faces a new stress -- replacing thousands of dollars he was promised for tuition.
"I worked so hard to get that, where it doesn't make sense," Madison said.
The sophomore at Northwood University also serves as the president of the Student Government Association. He, along with many of his peers, are hurt by the cut.
"It's going to be an expensive change, because over the course of four years that's $9,600," Madison said. "Now I have to pay this money back. Like I said earlier, it's going to be hard for some students to come to college because $10,000 is a lot of money."
He's looking into a job during the school year, but is concerned it may take away from his education.
"Like, it's going to be hard,” said Madison. “How am I going to be able to focus on school and a job at the same time?"
As the financial aid director of Northwood University, Mark Martin said the move hurts independent colleges across the state.
"It's devastating to our students and even to the institution,” said Martin. “We expect somewhere between $1.2 million to $1.5 million to come to us from the state for these students.”
That money has already been given to students and Martin said it’s up to the colleges to do the dirty work for the state and get the money back.
“We've already advanced institutional funds to our students for the fall semester and now we're on the verge of taking it away,” he said.
Students who receive this tuition grant make up about 30 percent of all students receiving need-based financial aid from the state.
“You ask yourself how come the students are the victims here,” said Martin. “Why are they paying for this lack of budgeting and cooperation in Lansing?”