Students left scrambling as state cuts tuition grants




More than 1,000 Detroit Mercy students are rushing to cover thousands of dollars in tuition after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer cut a need -based program from the budget.

The Michigan Tuition Grant has paid in-state full-time students, including those at private universities like Detroit Mercy, up to $2,400 towards their tuition since 1966.

However, after 53 years, it grant appears to have come to an end as a result of a feud between Whitmer and Republican legislators.

Whitmer said her motive is to force the Republican lawmakers to negotiate on budget changes.

Students interviewed by The Varsity News tended to blame Whitmer.

“It’s completely unfair,” said freshman Allison Molloy. “This cut has taken away an important grant that was given to me by the state to fulfill my education.”

Some students, like freshman KaLeb Hinton, are wondering if they have no other choice but to transfer.

“After talking to my financial aid adviser and running all of the numbers, I came to the conclusion that I’m either going to have to transfer to a different school or just start begging for money from my family,” said Hinton.

The cut has also sparked a major concern for Detroit Mercy student-athletes who are looking for alternative sources of money without having to leave the sports they love.

“Moving forward, I plan to look into other scholarship options to try and make up for the money I’ve now lost,” said sophomore softball player Taryn Peru.

While losing the money has been hard, the timing of the cut has added extra pressure.

The grant had been promised to students for the 2019-20 school year.

However, the veto occurred before the grant could be disbursed, leaving students owing a couple thousand dollars.

Some students, like Peru, are unable to even register for classes for the upcoming semester until they can find a way to come up with the money.

“The timing was not very convenient for me,” said Peru. “I need to pay for my school, and I cannot register until I do.”

Peru is not the only student unable so affected.

“It’s completely unfair to cut it right before it was about to be gifted,” said Molloy. “People need the extra boost from the grant to register for classes.”

While some students are looking for alternative sources, others don’t plan to back down.

They want to stand up and speak their mind.

“I plan to fight back and get my voice heard,” said Molloy. “I cannot just sit around and do nothing.”

Caren Bendes, director of scholarship and financial aid at Detroit Mercy, emailed affected students over the weekend, explaining their options.

She encouraged students to let their state lawmakers know they are being impacted by this cut.

She also said that students with questions or financial concerns should contact Detroit Mercy’s financial aid office.

The governor is still looking to negotiate over the the budget. 

But for now students are left to hope for the best and prepare for the worst as they wait to see if the budget cut stands. 

“I just can’t believe it’s just being taken from me,” said Hinton. “It’s absolutely heartbreaking that I could lose all of this.”