Detroit makes a Promise to its young people

By Ryan Burklow | @burklow_ryan

November 29, 2016

It has been said that a promise is only as reliable as the person or persons making it. In that case, students in Detroit have a lot to be excited about. Gov. Rick Snyder was joined by Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan, Detroit Public Schools Community District Superintendent Alycia Meriweather and Detroit Regional Chamber President and CEO Sandy Baruah to bring awareness to the success and future of the Detroit Promise program.

In 2011 Snyder made his commitment to providing Detroit high school graduates with a tuition-free path toward an associate degree or technical certificate known. Just two years later this idea was realized when the Detroit Regional Chamber began administering the Detroit Scholarship Fund.

RELATED: Gov. Snyder, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan launch the registration period for 2017 Detroit Promise (WXYZ)

The program has been a success, with over 2,000 Detroit high school graduates using the program to attend one of the five participating community colleges in the metro area. That’s more than 2,000 students who are able to work toward attaining a college degree or technical certificate, who otherwise might not have been able to.

Now, just five years later, the city of Detroit is taking a critically important next step. With the introduction of the Detroit Promise Scholarship, high schoolers who graduate from any Detroit high school in 2017 will have access to a tuition-free path towards a bachelor’s degree at one of the participating Michigan public universities.

RELATED: Students benefit from Detroit Promise program (Detroit News)

“As we look to the future, the next generation of leaders is being developed here in our schools, and we need to work to ensure that our students are prepared for success after they graduate high school,” Snyder said. “The Detroit Promise helps to provide access to a high-quality education so that our students are equipped with the skills necessary to help continue the city’s comeback for generations to come.”

RELATED: Free tuition for Detroiters to add 4-year universities (Detroit Free Press)

Along with offering a tuition-free education, the Detroit Promise scholarship can bestow a sense of hope and motivation. Students who might have thought a bachelor’s degree was out of their reach because of financial reasons can now more clearly see their path towards a four-year degree.

(Photo: Robin Buckson / The Detroit News)

With this scholarship all of Detroit’s high school students should be newly motivated, regardless of whether or not they believed higher education was previously a possibility. By having minimum requirements — like a 3.0 cumulative GPA — students have concrete goals to work towards.

“We all have a role to play in ensuring that our students are ready to take on the challenge of continuing the city’s comeback. That starts with a great education, and I’m excited to see what the future has in store for these students,” Snyder said.