Detroit is joining the list of Michigan communities offering “promise zone” college scholarships.
The program, enacted by state lawmakers years ago, but never implemented in Detroit until now, guarantees any Detroit high school graduate two years' tuition at five Metro Detroit community colleges.
To start, the program will be privately funded. In 2018, it will also start receiving a small slice of city property taxes that would otherwise go to the state.
Alycia Meriweather, the new interim superintendent for the Detroit Public Schools, said it’s a tremendous opportunity for students.
“I will do everything I can to work with counselors, community groups, and everyone else, so that no one misses out on the Detroit Promise,” Meriweather said.
Mayor Mike Duggan says the hope is the program will eventually raise enough money to cover four-year public university degrees as well.
But in the meantime, Duggan says graduates looking for that can use the current program as a launching pad.
“Once they get their first two years done, there’s a lot of scholarship money available for kids coming out of Detroit who succeed in their first two years,” Duggan said.
Any graduate of a traditional public, charter, or private Detroit high school can participate in the program, which will be administered by the Detroit Promise Zone Authority Board.
However, they must apply for Pell grants and meet certain college financial aid deadlines, in addition to being accepted by one of the five participating community colleges.