Building on a MEEF supported scholarship program, Detroit establishes a Promise Zone to assure that every high school graduate from the city will be guaranteed two years of tuition-free college education.
The Detroit Promise Zone Authority, established by Mayor Mike Duggan and the Detroit City Council, will set aside a portion of revenue growth from property taxes to permanently fund the scholarships starting in 2018.
The Michigan Education Excellence Foundation (MEEF) will secure private funding to support the scholarship program over the next two years as required under the 2009 Michigan Promise Zone statute. MEEF funding established the Detroit Scholarship Fund, administered by the Detroit Regional Chamber, with private dollars three years ago. Since 2013, the scholarship has helped over 1,500 Detroit high school graduates attend community college, tuition-free.
The program is a “last-dollar” scholarship, meaning students apply for all available financial aid including Pell grants and the scholarship then covers any tuition and mandatory fees not covered.
Eligible students must live in Detroit and complete their junior and senior years at a high school in the city. There is no minimum grade point average set, however students can only receive the scholarships if they are accepted into a participating post-secondary program. Five community colleges are participating in metro Detroit: Henry Ford Community College, Wayne County Community College District, Schoolcraft College, Macomb Community College and Oakland Community College.
MEEF is also funding a pilot project to cover four years of tuition for Detroit graduates who are accepted at participating Michigan universities and community colleges. To date, nearly every public university and community college in Michigan has opted to participate in the four-year scholarship pilot.
Students must register for the scholarship and submit a free application for Federal Student Aid by June 30. For more information, visit detroitscholarshipfund.com. If Detroit high schoolers have already applied with the Detroit Scholarship Fund, then they do not have to reapply.
Selected articles on the Detroit Promise Zone Announcement:
Detroit Free Press: Detroit high school grads to get tuition-free college
Detroit News: Detroit solidifies free college degree program
Crain’s Detroit Business: New program will send Detroit high school grads to college for free
Channel 7, ABC News: Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announces student funding program called Detroit Promise
Channel 2. Fox News: Duggan announces Detroit Promise: two years of free college
Factsheet on Detroit Promise Zone
March 23, 2016