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FREE College Tuition for Flint Students

By Representative Sheldon A. Neeley
LANSING, Mich. – The vision of creating a Promise Zone in the city of Flint began nearly 10 years ago when I sat on the Flint City Council with now-state Sen. Jim Ananich. I knew then how crucial it was that we provide Flint’s young minds with the ability to pursue a college degree without being discouraged by the high costs of tuition, and since then I have continued to work tirelessly to ensure Flint’s students have every opportunity imaginable to receive a world-class education. With the possibility of creating a Promise Zone for Flint through our position as legislators, Sen. Ananich and I advocated loudly for the students of Flint to Lansing officials and guaranteeing that the program would be funded. After our hard work and dedication to our city’s young people, I could not be prouder nor more excited to say that as of early November, we have finally succeeded in creating a Promise Zone in the city of Flint.
Senate Bill 98 will expand the number of Promise Zones allowed in Michigan from 10 to 15, letting the city of Flint have its own college scholarship program for high school students. After sitting on the waiting list for a Promise Zone since 2009, Flint can now raise money for scholarships through private donations and can keep half the annual growth in state education taxes to go toward funding these scholarships. Already, private firms and businesses are investing in Flint students’ future education. Tom Gores, the owner of the Detroit Pistons, and the Consumers Energy Foundation have already committed $1 million each to begin the Flint Promise program in August.
Students will have the ability to use these scholarships toward a two- or four-year degree program, along with certain trades programs as well. Not only have Promise Zones been shown to bolster student performance and college attendance rates, they are also known to boost local economies by providing the future workforce with additional skills and greater educational opportunities.
There is no denying that this is a pivotal moment for the future of education for all of Flint’s students. The creation of this Promise Zone program will have life-changing effects for generations to come.
For more information contact State Representative Sheldon A. Neeley at (517) 373-8808.

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