College scholarships in sight for Flint students

LANSING, Mich. — Legislation to make Flint a Promise Zone passed out of the House Education Reform Committee today with wide bipartisan support. The bill, sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Jim Ananich (D–Flint), is modeled after the extremely successful Kalamazoo Promise. It would allow local communities to pool resources and use tax increment financing to help students afford a college education.

“I told the students in my city that we were going to get this done for them, and we’re almost there,” Sen. Ananich said. “I ask the House to move on this with urgency, since it should go without saying that the kids in Flint deserve the opportunity to jump-start their education.”

The legislation was amended with a substitute from Rep. Julie Alexander (R–Hanover) that would increase the number of Promise Zones from ten to 15, a change that is supported by Sen. Ananich.

“The more kids that can benefit from these scholarships, the better,” Sen. Ananich said. “Promise Zones have proven themselves as not only an incentive for more students to continue their education, but they are also an economic driver and a magnet to draw in new residents. If communities are able to put together the funds to support a Promise Zone, by all means the state should give them the structure to back it.”

Senate Bill 98 now heads to the full House for consideration.
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