NAICU Washington Update

Michigan Independent Colleges Win Fight to Restore Private College Student Grant

January 29, 2020

In October of 2019, Michigan’s Governor Gretchen Whitmer line-item vetoed the Michigan Tuition Grant (MTG), a state need-based grant for students attending independent, nonprofit colleges and universities.
The MTG has been a relatively safe budget item for the past eight years. When the Governor vetoed the grant, among 146 other items totaling nearly $1 billion, she claimed the vetoes were a political move to encourage the legislature to renegotiate parts of the budget. The legislature had not negotiated with the administration, and thus delivered a budget at a late hour that the Governor did not support. The Governor had included the MTG in her budget recommendation in March of 2019, at $2,400 per student, an amount the legislature increased to $3,000 per student in its final budget.
As soon as the veto happened, the private colleges in Michigan, led by the Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities (MICU), began a broad communications and advocacy campaign targeting the legislature and the Governor in order to restore the MTG.  This effort mobilized college presidents, emphasized student voices, leveraged both traditional and social media platforms, and culminated with a Student Action Day in December at the Capitol.
On December 20, 2019, 81 days after the veto, Governor Whitmer signed a new budget deal restoring 100 percent of the MTG funding and increasing the individual grant by $400 per student over the previous year.

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