LANSING, Mich. — Ryan Fewins-Bliss, MCAN executive director, provided testimony at the March 15 meeting of the Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Universities and Community Colleges.

As part of his remarks, Fewins-Bliss discussed how Michigan can continue to remove barriers to college affordability, and highlighted the impacts of current and potential financial aid programs.

“Investing in individual students’ education has been proven to help that student directly, but also the student’s family, their community, and our state as a whole,” said Fewins-Bliss. “This investment will pay off for us all — especially since talent development is one of Michigan’s primary challenges. State-based financial aid empowers Michigan residents to gain the skills necessary to fulfill their goals and enhance our state economy.”

As part of his testimony, Fewins-Bliss presented the following recommendations:

  • Continue to fund the Michigan Achievement Scholarship and add the required additional $50 million annually to ensure full implementation of this new, game-changing scholarship.
  • Maintain the previously budgeted $55 million for Michigan Reconnect and expand the program by permanently reducing the age of eligibility from 25 to 21.
  • Support Michigan Reconnect BA and find additional ways to support students whose higher education was disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic from 2020 to 2022, including those who graduated from high school during that time and those who stopped out of college.
  • Continue full funding for the Tuition Incentive Program, Michigan Competitive Scholarship, and Michigan Tuition Grant at their current appropriations, inclusive of the planned reduction in the Michigan Competitive Scholarship due to the anticipated effects of the Michigan Achievement Scholarship.
  • Appropriate $15 million in funding to incentivize FAFSA completion for students and schools.
  • Introduce legislation to offset the costs of students earning early credit through Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate, dual and concurrent enrollment, articulated credit from career and technical education, credit for prior learning, and the College-Level Examination Program.
  • Unify and align boilerplate for the State of Michigan’s financial aid programs.

MCAN is grateful to Chair Sean McCann (D-Kalamazoo), Majority Vice Chair Jeff Irwin (D-Ann Arbor), Minority Vice Chair Thomas Albert (R-Lowell), and the subcommittee for inviting MCAN’s testimony.

The subcommittee meeting and Fewins-Bliss’ full testimony can be viewed below (Ryan's testimony begins around the 21:45 mark, but we encourage you to watch the full session), and a copy of the remarks prepared for delivery are available here.