By: Wazobia Staff
It is a new dawn for Detroiters, the high school graduates won/t have to pay for their community college education with effect from this year. The Detroit Promise Zone program, officially launched on Tuesday, will make it possible. At first the funds will come from a private scholarship foundation. But starting in 2018, some of the money will come from property taxes already earmarked for the program.
According to Mayor Mike Duggan “It doesn’t matter whether you’re a high school senior preparing for college now or a second-grader whose college career is years away. The Detroit Promise will be there to help make a college education a reality,”
He is of the belief that the program will eventually expand to cover the cost of four years of college tuition at a state school for each Detroit student.
There are conditions attached to this, a student must have completed their junior and senior years at a public, private or charter high school in Detroit to qualify for this. The student still have to fill out the federal financial aid form called the FAFSA regardless of how much their family earns. The Detroit program will pick up the difference after any other federal and state grants and scholarships have been used.
About 500 students are expected to take advantage of the program and enroll at a community college each fall, according to a spokesman for the Detroit Regional Chamber, which helps administer the scholarship.
It is expected to cost an average of $680 per person, annually, though each scholarship amount will vary depending on how much in other awards the student received.
The privately funded Detroit Scholarship program is already in place and has granted 2,000 students free tuition over the past three years. The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation raised the funds from a mix of companies, charitable foundations, and individuals.
But now that the Detroit Promise Zone has officially launched, scholarship funding will eventually move away from private donations toward earmarked tax funds. There isn’t an exact timeline for that transition, a spokesman said.
Detroit is one of the 10 “Promise Zomes”the state created in 2009 as a way to send more Michigan residents to college. The programs designate a share of state property taxes within the zone to pay for the scholarships.
“We are confident that Detroit’s future will be even brighter now that our city’s future leaders will be able to go to college at no cost,” said Detroit Promise Zone Authority Board Chairwoman Penny Bailer.
High school seniors must register for the Detroit Scholarship Fund Online by June 30 deadline to be eligible.