Peter Ruark, Senior Policy Analyst
Currently, Michigan has no financial aid grants for students who have been out of high school for more than 10 years and want to go to a public university or community college. Eliminated in 2010, the Part-Time Independent Student Grant addresses this specific need and should be reinstated in the 2018 budget.
The decision by workers to get trained in new skills is often made more than 10 years after graduation from high school. While state financial aid helps many students of traditional college age, there are no state financial aid programs to help students attend public community colleges or universities if they have been out of high school for more than 10 years. Two of the three existing grant programs explicitly exclude such individuals from eligibility, and the third is available only to those attending a private, not-for-profit institution. Additionally, none of the grant programs are available to students who go to college less than half time, even though that is sometimes the most workable choice for those who are working and raising a family.
The Governor’s 2018 State Budget
The governor’s 2018 budget includes $2 million to reinstate the Part-Time Independent Student Grant.
The League Recommends
Until 2010, Michigan offered two grants to older students: the Part-Time Independent Student Grant (formerly called the Adult Part-Time Grant) and the Educational Opportunity Grant (which was also available to qualifying “traditional” students). Given that the two grants previously available for this population were funded at a total of more than $4.7 million during the most recent years prior to their elimination, we urge the House and Senate to join the governor in reinstating the Part-Time Independent Student Grant and appropriate $4.7 million in funding to meet the true need for financial assistance for this group of older students and workers.