Granholm to discuss Promise scholarship on campus
November 16, 2009 —
Gov. Jennifer Granholm plans to tour the state during the next two weeks, visiting college campuses to address the unfunded Michigan Promise Scholarship. Among her scheduled stops — Saginaw Valley State University.
The Student Association (SA) expect Granholm at 12:30 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 18, in Albert E’s(formerly Einstein’s Eatery). Students are asked to assemble at noon.
Although the Michigan Promise Scholarship is the primary focus on the governor’s speaking agenda, SA President Ryan Kanine hopes students will show up and rally for greater interest among legislators for higher education as a whole.
“A lot of students are affected by the Michigan Promise Scholarship, but all students are affected by decisions made over higher education,” Kanine said.
Late last month, 96,000 students received word that their scholarships, worth up to $4,000 per qualifying student, had been axed from the state budget. Thanks to SVSU electing to cover the cost for the fall semester, more than 1,400 students at the University were not denied at least the first round of their financial aid.
Kanine said that while asking legislators to find a way to restore revenue for the scholarship is a priority of Granholm’s, he believes it is wise to consider where those funds will come from.
“We don’t want funding for the Michigan Promise Scholarship to come out of the higher education appropriation because we’re also concerned that the University is not receiving enough funding for higher education,” he said, “and that’s why we see tuition increases.”
SVSU President Eric R. Gilbertson shares Kanine’s concerns, identifying potential tuition increases as something to be aware of.
“While it’s hard to be against something called a Promise grant, there’s a much bigger issue coming down the road,” he said.
Kanine said Granholm’s office of external affairs has confirmed with him that a visit to SVSU is on the governor’s calendar. The possibility remains that a representative may attend in her place if scheduling complications arise.
SA intends for the address to be inviting to students.
“Ultimately, Albert E’s is an area where students are going to be, and we didn’t want this to be a formal speech,” Kanine said. “We agreed Albert E’s is a good area to connect with the students.”
Kanine said the governor’s office has communicated Granholm’s interest in speaking in this setting.
SA plans to ask a couple student attendees to give opening remarks at the governor’s request.
Other organizations credited for assisting in the event include the Political Science Student Association, the College Republicans, the College Democrats, the Model United Nations class and the Center for Policy and Public Service.
College Democrats President Chad Young plans on attending the address. Work study funds and competitive scholarship opportunities are other areas he said deserve attention.
“It impacts the campus community as a whole,” he said. “Everyone can name an individual who has had to come up with extra money or face the reality of dropping out or going to a community college.”
Kanine and Young hope the address will alert students to the impact they can have on local legislators’ decision making.
If time is allotted for some Q&A, Young has an idea of what he would ask Granholm: “How do you plan on communicating with these legislators effectively and educating them on the dire need for higher education?”
“It can’t just be pinned on a few shoulders,” he said. “There needs to be a statewide effort.”