Gov Whitmer vetoes funding for Michigan private university scholarships

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Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer struck down millions of dollars in scholarships for students attending Michigan private universities by a line-item veto on Monday. Roughly 900 Calvin students used the Michigan Tuition Grant to attend Calvin, according to President Michael Le Roy. Following the news, Le Roy said that he was disappointed and concerned.

“This grant has served to educate thousands of Calvin graduates who become the state’s engineers, teachers, nurses, community and business leaders, and who provide a great public good to Michigan at a low cost to the taxpayer,”

— University President Michael Le Roy

Senior Abby Vedders is one of the 900 Calvin students who had been expecting to use this grant money. “I’m feeling very worried, because I don’t know where I’m going to come up with the $2000,” she said.

According to Le Roy, the Calvin administration is lobbying state policymakers on both sides of the aisle to find a solution for students.

According to information from Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities, over 16,000 students use this need-based grant statewide. Students can receive up to $2,400 per academic year. Le Roy is the current chair of MICU. 

A spokeswoman for Whitmer told the Detroit Free Press that the governor did not want to make this veto but was trying to force the state legislature to negotiate a different budget. Whitmer’s press secretary Tiffany Brown told Chimes that the governor understands the value of the Michigan Tuition Grant but that the Republican legislature’s budget was “fatally flawed.”

Whitmer is also apparently working with Sen. Curtis Hertel to structure a supplemental package to the budget which would fill the gaps to funding in education, public safety, and public health. The press secretary said, “If Republicans want to come back to the table to negotiate changes to the budget [Whitmer] signed, she is ready to talk.”

This post was updated with comment from Governor Whitmer’s office.