Tuition-free college coming to future Flint high school graduates

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Flint (WJRT) - (10/24/17) - It's a promising idea for those hoping to go to college. Flint will become a Promise Zone.

For many, high school graduation means the end of formal education. Coming up with tuition money would seem to be impossible. The Flint Promise can change that for many.

"I think it's going to havea major impact because a lot of kids, a lot of families just don't have any hope," said State Senator Jim Ananich, (D) Flint.

The Promise Zone program provides free college tution to high school graduates from public, charter, private and parochial schools in Flint. For the first year, $2 million from businessman Tom Gores and the Consumers Energy Foundation will fund the program. After that, a portion of the annual growth in the State Education Tax within the zone may be captured and added to other donations.

"We know that a degree means higher wages, those higher wages mean increased vitality within our own community," said Kristi Hottenstein, UM-Flint vice chancellor of enrollment management.

Promise Zones exist in ten Michigan cities and have decreased dropout rates and sent many students on to a higher education.

"That's so critically necessary because in this day and age in the 21st Century workforce a college credential in necessary," said Beverly Walker-Griffea, Mott Community College president.

Realizing more education is achievable is all the incentive many students need.

"A lot of families just don't think they can afford college,community college or otherwise so they don't apply and then they stop applying themselves when they're in school," said Ananich.

The Promise Zone is not only for colleges.The tuition for a technical school or other types of education can be covered.

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