December 8, 2006
$4,000 new merit scholarship sends right message to Michigan students
LANSING - In her weekly radio address, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today said the new Merit Award scholarship, approved yesterday by the Michigan House of Representatives and now called the Michigan Promise, is the most important issue for Michigan families and the state's economy addressed by lawmakers in the lame-duck session.
"Our message to all, not just some of our students, must be that to succeed in today's economy, no one's education can end at high school," Granholm said. "As a state, we must greatly expand the opportunity to pursue a college education, particularly to children who grow up thinking that an education beyond high school is out of their grasp."
Granholm said the evidence is clear that the states with the highest number of college graduates have the lowest unemployment rates and the fastest-growing economies. By rewarding less than half of Michigan's students based solely on a single standardized test score, the current Michigan Merit Award scholarship program leaves students who score low burdened with the false notion they are not "college material."
The Michigan Promise was first proposed by Governor Granholm in her 2005 State of the State address. Beginning with today's high school seniors, every student who attends college will receive a $4,000 scholarship - $1,500 more than the current program. Students can use the money to attend any two or four-year school in Michigan, public or private, or a wide array of technical training programs.
Students who score well on the high school assessment will receive $1,000 during each of their freshman and sophomore years and earn the remaining $2,000 after successfully completing two years. Students who do not receive qualifying scores can earn the entire $4,000 scholarship by successfully completing two years of post-secondary education.
"Coupled with the rigorous high school curriculum standards that I fought for and signed into law, this new scholarship program will position Michigan as the state that can lead the nation in educational attainment and economic growth," Granholm said.
The governor's weekly radio address is released each Friday morning and may be heard on broadcast stations across the state through an affiliation with the Michigan Association of Broadcasters. The address will also be available on the Governor's website on Mondays as a podcast for general distribution to personal MP3 players and home computers.
Broadcasters Note: Governor Granholm's radio address can be accessed through Sunday evening exclusively through the Members Only page of the Michigan Association of Broadcasters website.
Publishers Note: The text of today's address is attached.