On Oct. 30, Governor Jennifer Granholm announced that the Michigan Promise Scholarship program had been terminated, which resulted in a loss of funds for 893 Albion students.
Following the cut of the scholarship program, Ferris State University and Saginaw Valley State University announced that they would honor the Promise Scholarship; however, Albion College will not.
At the Board of Trustees meeting on Oct. 22, President Donna Randall, Board of Trustees and vice presidents made the final decision not to reimburse former recipients of the Michigan Promise Scholarship.
“The board and Albion College administration were deeply concerned about the impact of the state taking away the Michigan Promise Scholarship from our students and doing so late in the academic year,” Randall said. “Due to the significant negative impact on the college’s finances, it was determined that this would not be feasible due to the college’s current fiscal constraints.”
According to Mike Frandsen, vice president for finance and administration, providing funding to all students who qualified for the scholarship would cost $1,105,000 for fall and spring semesters. Therefore, Albion would not have the financial resources to cover the amount lost without making cuts in other areas.
“It is regrettable that the state of Michigan was not able to keep its promise, but in order for Albion to keep its promises in terms of other forms of aid and program offerings we are not able to replace the Promise scholarship,” Frandsen said.
Randall encourages students facing financial challenges to meet with the Financial Aid Office to discuss payment options .
“We agreed to work with each student in need on a case-by-case basis (as we did last academic year to minimize the impact of the financial crisis on our families),” Randall said. “While the state of Michigan is in significant economic turmoil, it is indeed regrettable that the state was not able to fulfill its promise to students within the state. This is certainly a difficult decision for all involved.”
According to Frandsen, students are able to pay the lost Promise Scholarship amount for the fall semester with their spring semester bills.
In many cases, students are utilizing Stafford or Perkins Loans or Federal Work Study, said Ann Whitmer, Financial Aid Director.
Some students who lost the Promise Scholarship do not agree with Albion’s decision not to cover the cost.
“Albion is an expensive college, and every last dime matters to some students,” said Steve Congdon, Fenton junior. “Not honoring the Promise Scholarship it will hurt members of the student body that are struggling financially.”
Despite the cut being made at the state level, the administration is working hard to continue to help students.
“It is regrettable that the state could not invest in its citizens in this way,” Frandsen said. “Our legislators are facing many difficult decisions, and while I may not always agree with their choices, I am glad I do not have to make them.”