The Michigan Higher Education Attainment Roundtable (MIHEART) is pleased to see key talent priorities get funded in the FY 2022-23 budget. It is encouraging to see the State make these investments in our future. Over the last decade, MIHEART’s members have been working collaboratively to promote, advocate for, and lead policy change that will generate improved postsecondary education and attainment levels in Michigan. MIHEART’s overarching goal, like the State’s and the Chamber’s, is to increase the number of working-age adults with a postsecondary certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.
As such, as a group, we celebrate the record $2 billion in higher education bipartisan investments that were made as part of the budget. The higher education budget makes significant investments that will go a long way toward improving college access, sustaining institutional operations, expanding opportunities for student learning, and improving college affordability. In particular, the expansion and sustaining of Michigan Reconnect, a program that has provided Michiganders a tuition-free pathway to higher education and skills training, will help put Michigan on a path toward reaching 60% by 2030.
Support for the Michigan Achievement Scholarship
Enrollment has fallen to historic low levels and there’s more work to be done to put Michigan back on track and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Specifically, the state’s $250 million postsecondary fund included in the budget still has details that need to be agreed upon. MIHEART’s members believe that investing in college grants, such as the Michigan Achievement Scholarship passed by the Senate earlier this year, is the most effective way to grow enrollment, increase the number of graduates, reduce students’ reliance on debt, and help students choose their best-fit institution. Any new grant program must allow full participation for all students attending the college of their choice in Michigan. A new program must be in addition to the existing financial aid programs to spur enrollment. The time is now to come together and ensure that the funding will be available for the class of 2022. If we wait, even more students will fall behind.
We Stand Ready
MIHEART’s members look forward to discussions on the postsecondary scholarship fund. The coalition supports for the Senate-passed Michigan Achievement Scholarship, which significantly increases college affordability for students enrolling at Michigan’s colleges and universities. We are prepared to engage in discussions regarding how best to fund Michigan’s students, including the sharing of data to identify where needs are the greatest and how best to support students.
Equipping All Michiganders With the Education and Skills Needed for Success in the Economy of Today and Tomorrow
MIHEART’s current membership includes key institutions and leaders committed to working together on an ongoing basis to increase attainment of postsecondary credentials of workforce value. The members include individuals from the following groups, and their participation does not
infer support for any specific position:
- Detroit Regional Chamber
- Business Leaders for Michigan
- Michigan Association of Intermediate School Administrators (MAISA)
- Michigan Association of Superintendents and Administrators (MASA)
- Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU)
- Michigan Association of Secondary School Principals (MASSP)
- Michigan College Access Network (MCAN)
- Michigan Community College Association
- Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities (MICU)
- The Institute for College Access and Success (TICAS)