Promise Grant could be axed

LANSING, Mich. - A work group studying education spending in Michigan will recommend eliminating the Michigan Promise Grant in view of a projected $1.1 billion state budget shortfall by 2012, according to The Detroit News.

Introduced in 2000, the Promise Grant program gives eligible students up to $4,000 for college. The state could save up to $200 million annually by ending the program, which is funded by tobacco settlement money that could be used for other purposes, Gary Olson, chairman of the higher education work group and director of the Senate Fiscal Agency, told The News. The study group did not find data to indicate that ending the program would result in large drops in the number of students going to college, Olson told The News.

The Legislative Commission on Government Efficiency and its nine working subgroups are charged with recommending budget cuts to the governor by next summer, The News reported. Other education-related recommendations are expected to include: merging universities, consolidating K-12 school districts, shifting teachers to a statewide health care system, capping per-pupil funding increases and decreasing university allocations, according to The News.

The Detroit News, "Michigan may cut students' merit aid," Dec. 16, 2008

Mackinac Center for Public Policy, "A Michigan School Money Primer," May 30, 2007