A First Step to Expanding Postsecondary Access

Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently announced a statewide “Governors FAFSA Challenge.” The goal is for every Michigan high school to increase FAFSA completion rates, helping Michigan students access Pell Grants, scholarships and other financial aid, to make trade school, community college and 4-year colleges more affordable.

An estimated 25,000 eligible Michigan students miss out on nearly $100,000 in federal Pell grants each year. Increasing Michigan’s FAFSA completion rate – which was just under 56 percent in 2019 – will be essential to making postsecondary education accessible to more students. It will also help advance Michigan’s goal of increasing the number of Michiganders with a postsecondary credential to 60 percent by 2030.

Completing a FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid can open the door to financial assistance for postsecondary education. It is the only way for students to apply for federal and state financial aid and is frequently used by institutions and private scholarship funds for financial aid applications.

Supporting Parents through Partnership

On Saturday, Detroit Parent Network honored The Education Trust-Midwest for our partnership in advancing educational equity and supporting parent around early literacy.

Over the past year, the two organizations have collaborated to develop tools and resources to help parents support early literacy and navigate Michigan’s third grade reading law. Collaboratively, Detroit Parent Network and Ed Trust-Midwest have developed a curriculum to help parents support their children’s literacy education at home, at school and in the community. This training will reach hundreds of parents in Detroit and the surrounding area in the coming months.

Michigan’s third grade reading law requires schools to identify struggling readers early and develop and implement plans to support struggling readers. Third-grade students who are more than a year behind in reading by the end of this year may be retained. This is expected to impact about five percent of students statewide, but far higher rates of students in communities with high concentrations of poverty, including Detroit.

Capital Update

The legislature continues work on a tentative budget agreement negotiated between the Governor and legislative leaders. Although some details are still emerging, the tentative agreement appears to fund support for rural and isolated school districts, early literacy interventions and an increase in per pupil funding for charter schools that is commiserate with traditional public schools. This week, appropriations committees, subcommittees and both the Senate and House are expected to work through a supplemental budget.

Senate Education and Career Readiness Committee will met today, December 10, at 8:30 a.m. AgendaSenate Bills 650 (Theis – R) and 651 (Moss – D) regarding dropout recovery programs, staffing and requirements.

House Education Committee will meet today, December 10, at 9:00 a.m. in room 521 of the House Office Building. Agenda:

  • House Bill 4856 (Miller – R), which would nullify certain endorsements and grade-level certifications of teaching certificates after seven years of disuse.
  • HB 4826 (Brann – R), which would establish a free enterprise and entrepreneurship program and requirement.

House Ways and Means Committee will meet today, December 10, at 10:30 a.m. in room 352, House Appropriation, in the State Capitol Building. The agenda includes:  House Bills 4269 (Griffin – R) – 4271 (Howell – R) and 4282 (Hauck -R). These bills would make changes to the math, health, foreign language and arts graduation requirements of the Michigan Merit Curriculum.

Tweet of the Week

@MASUmichigan: Our CEO @Daniel_J_Hurley writes at Optimizing Education on all the efforts MASU and Michigan are undertaking to increase FAFSA completion: