Students are big losers with veto of Michigan Tuition Grant, Northwood says

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer issued 147 line-item vetoes to the budget proposal passed by the Republican-led Legislature.
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MIDLAND (WJRT) (10/7/2019) - One of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's line-item budget vetoes left hundreds of Northwood University students scrambling to cover their tuition costs.

Northwood says 558 of its students students and about 17,000 students statewide receive the need-based Michigan Tuition Grant. Each of them expected to receive $2,400 for the current school year.

The grant is projected to save students more than $10,000 in future loan interest if they have to borrow the money instead.

However, Whitmer vetoed funding for the program, along with 146 other spending items included in budget bills passed by the Republican-led Legislature. She included the program in her budget proposal unveiled in March.

“We’re saddened that vulnerable students are the ones losing after Lansing’s budget battle,” said Mark Martin, financial aid systems director at Northwood. “The Michigan Tuition Grant helps ease the burden for college students in-need and we hope this grant can be restored in Lansing so students aren’t held back.”

Northwood officials say 30 percent of Michigan college students receiving need-based financial aid were slated to receive the Michigan Tuition Grant. They include 6,000 first-generation college students, 200 veterans and more than 5,600 students over age 25.

Higher education officials estimate losing the grant could lead to 12,000 fewer students a year obtaining bachelor's degrees in Michigan.

“Eliminating this funding will drastically impact need-based students’ abilities to pursue higher education, putting their futures at risk,” said Robert Lefevre, president of Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities. “Lansing’s budget mess is hurting Michigan students and this issue must be fixed before even one student gives up on their future.”