GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A number of programs across the state expected to take big hits after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer vetoed nearly $1 billion in proposed spending.
That includes the Michigan Tuition Grant for students attending private colleges and universities. That money comes out to $2,400 per student per academic year.
The grant is widely used for low- to middle-class students.
The president of Aquinas College, Kevin Quinn, said the move essentially puts roughly 600 of their students' futures on hold, adding that the students who receive that grant don't have the means to make up the difference.
“The main thing I want people to know, and especially the folks who are elected officials in Lansing, I want them to really understand that the pain and the fear and the uncertainty and the difficulty that they`re putting on their students as a result of this impasse.”
One of those Aquinas students said when she first learned about the grant getting pulled from the state budget, she was baffled and infuriated.
Sophomore, Destiny Pryor-Harper said, “Not only is this a financial hit, but an emotional hit because I lose that stability that I’ve helped build for myself.”
Pryor-Harper depends on that $2,400 to cover her financial needs each year and says if lawmakers can't negotiate and find a way to restore funding, she won't be coming back to Aquinas next semester, or at all, if that grant is cut multiple years in a row.
“When you’re a student in need, which is who this money goes to, you budget every dollar, you figure out where every penny is going and to have that much taken away," she said. "It’s a lot more than people think, it’s a lot more to us.”
Several Aquinas students are putting together student testimonies about the impact this cut will have on their futures to send to Michigan lawmakers in the coming weeks.
You can submit a written or video statement to firstname.lastname@example.org.