Promises More Budget Cuts
Jennifer Granholm wants to sell $2 billion in state bonds over the
next decade to invest in high-tech industries as part of her plan
for strengthening and diversifying Michigan's
economy. She outlined the seven points of her plan, one of which
is education, in her State of the State address Tuesday night. But
with a projected $1 billion shortfall looming in 2005, the governor
also promised more cuts in the executive budget she will unveil
later this month.
the subject of higher education, Granholm said states with the highest
number of adults with college degrees have the lowest unemployment,
the highest personal income growth, and the fastest-growing economies.
than any other factor, this one –
a highly educated
drives a state's
economy," she said. "That
is why we must do all we can to make college more affordable for
those who choose it. When I issued the executive order balancing
this year's budget, I asked our universities and community colleges
to tighten their belts and hold the line against tuition increases.
Tonight, I reiterate this challenge. … I am pleased to announce
that Wayne State
is the first to agree not to
raise tuition beyond the rate of inflation. I challenge others to
follow their lead."
thanked the Cherry Commission on Higher Education and Economic Growth
for providing a road map for achieving the goal of doubling the
number of college graduates in Michigan.
One of the commission's recommendations is to expect
all state high school students to earn a college degree or its equivalent
by continuing their education for at least two years beyond high
governor announced proposed changes in the MERIT scholarship that
would replace the $2,500 students receive for doing well on MEAP
this new MERIT scholarship, we are extending that promise into the
college years," Granholm said. "Beginning with the class
of 2007 – today's high school sophomores – Michigan
$4,000 for every student who completes two years of college, whether
they earn an associate degree from a community college, achieve
junior status at a four-year institution, or complete a technical
students who want to enter the work force with an associate degree,
the new MERIT scholarship means the state will essentially pick
up the tab for tuition. And those going on to four-year degrees
can use their new MERIT scholarship for their next year's tuition.
Either way, Michigan
the first state in the nation to reward our students for completing
two years of college. … The days when we define merit as success
in high school are over. Michigan
define merit the way the economy does by rewarding those who earn
also said she has met hundreds of victims of downsizing, outsourcing
or "some other flowery word for being laid off" who would
gladly juggle work and family to go back to school, but are deterred
by the fact their college credits have expired.
year, we will ask Michigan 's
colleges and universities to create a credit amnesty -- accepting
the old credits of those adults who reenroll within the next three
years to finish their degrees," she said. "This amnesty
will create a window to go back to school to finish up the degree
they started years ago."
will take part in a series of community and campus activities during
a visit to Marquette scheduled Feb. 17-18.