Supporting equitable access to postsecondary opportunities

Michigan’s future hinges in large part on the ability for our students and future workforce to succeed. Currently, two-thirds of jobs require some form of postsecondary training, yet only about 45 percent of Michiganders have a degree or certification.

Increasing the number of Michiganders with a postsecondary credential is an important metric to move, and The Education Trust-Midwest is proud to support Governor Whitmer’s statewide goal of having 60 percent of Michigan adults with postsecondary credential by 2030.

Setting this ambitious goal is important, but alone is not enough.

As described in Advancing Equity & Opportunity: Prioritizing Public Education in Michigan’s State Budget, Governor Whitmer has outlined two major programs for making higher education accessible for more Michiganders. These proposals are an important step toward relieving financial barriers to certificate and degree programs:

  • Michigan Reconnect is based on a similar program in Tennesse, which would make in-demand technical certificates and associate degrees tuition-free for people age 25 or older, who have graduated high school or earned their GED. Governor Whitmer’s proposed budget proposal includes $110 million to fund the first two years of this program for current members of the workforce.
  • MI Opportunity would make community college tuition-free for all Michigan high school graduates. Students from low- and moderate-income families who graduate high school with a 3.0 GPA or higher would also be eligible for a stipend of up to $2,500 per year, for the first two years of a four-year degree program at a public or nonprofit college or university. MI Opportunity is proposed to be funded during the 2021 fiscal year.

Removing barriers to success in postsecondary education is critical for improving outcomes for Michigan students and workers – particularly for historically underserved groups. This includes ensuring that students are prepared for the rigor of postsecondary, have support to help them enter and succeed in higher education, and by addressing financial barriers to training programs, community college, and four-year degree programs.

Michigan Reconnect and MI Opportunity are important steps toward expanding access and opportunity for Michigan workers and students. The Education Trust-Midwest is excited to support these much-needed initiatives.

Capital Update

House Education Committee will meet today at 9:00 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda: presentations on M-STEP by the Michigan Department of Education and Data Recognition Corporation (DRC), and presentations on benchmark assessments by NWEA, Renaissance, and Curriculum Associates.

Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee will meet today at noon in room 1300 of the Binsfeld Office Building. AgendaSenate Bill 113 (Ananich – D), which would exempt schools from the requirement to make up missed days of schools due to inclement weather, when a statewide state of emergency has been declared by the Governor.

Current law permits schools to cancel up to six days of school for conditions outside of the control of school officials, such as heavy snow or cold weather. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction may grant a waiver excusing up to three additional days of school. Winter weather

House School Aid and Department of Education Appropriations Subcommittee will meet Wednesday, April 17 at noon in room 352 of the State Capitol Building. Agenda: presentations from service providers.

Tweet of the Week

@EdTrust: Our #DegreeAttainment report finds that #Black degree attainment rates in many states across the country are far too low. #HigherEd