10 Low Income Areas in Michigan Become “Promise Zones” for Scholarships

From Battlecreek Enquirer:

Michigan picks ‘promise zones’ scholarship locations

The Associated Press

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan this weekend is announcing qualifying locations for a new program aimed at providing more college scholarships to high school graduates in 10 low-income areas of the state.

Designations have been awarded to Baldwin Community Schools, Battle Creek Public Schools, Benton Harbor Area Schools, the City of Detroit, the School District of the City of Hazel Park, Jackson Public Schools, the Lansing School District, the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District, the School District of the City of Pontiac and the Saginaw School District.

A measure signed into law in January by Gov. Jennifer Granholm allowed the creation of 10 “promise zones,” and 14 communities submitted applications. The legislation was modeled somewhat after the Kalamazoo Promise, which guarantees free college tuition to graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools.

“Communities need this powerful new tool to take charge of their economic futures,” Granholm said in a statement. An official announcement was planned for Sunday.

Communities, relying heavily on private funding, must prove they have enough cash to run their college scholarship programs for two years before they could get matching funds from the state. At a minimum, the programs must provide students living within the “promise zone” tuition for two years at a community college.

State Rep. Tim Melton, a Democrat from Auburn Hills, and state Sen. Gerald Van Woerkom, a Republican from Norton Shores representing the Muskegon area, spearheaded efforts to pass the law in the state Legislature.

“This initiative is one of the most creative ways to give children in these areas of higher than normal poverty a new lease on life,” Melton said in a statement.