Governor Whitmer’s budget calls for a huge increase in support for education throughout Michigan. The plan would aid college students with the the Futures for Frontliners program, which is meant as a thank you to frontline workers for their efforts during the pandemic by eliminating tuition at community colleges.
Under this plan, frontline workers who lost their jobs between November 1, 2020 to January 31, 2021 in industries disproportionately affected by COVID-19 would receive the same deal. “Last count I saw was just over a hundred students who participated who are students here now because of that program, and so we’re so very pleased to serve those individuals,” said president of North Central Michigan College, Dr. David Finley.
$120 million will be allocated to the Michigan Reconnect Program, allowing those older than 25 to receive free tuition at community colleges to pursue an associates degree. “They’ve been out in life,” said Dr. Finley. “They see the value of higher education and can do that and educational attainment speaks to wages earned, speaks to our communities thriving in a better way. So, it helps us all to have these programs available.”
K-12 schools would also see a boost in support. Schools would see an increase in per pupil funding as smaller districts will see an additional $164 per student, bringing the total to $8,275, and larger districts will see an additional $82 per student, bringing that total $8,611.
State Senator Wayne Schmidt says the budget is a good start. “It’s gonna be a lot of work of course the devil is in the details, but I like the fact that it’s started out at 2X funding,” he said. “I think we’re gonna need to get a little more funding in that area up especially for schools in northern Michigan and the upper peninsula.”
Schmidt added he’s cautiously optimistic they will get a good budget done and presented for the entire state.