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Private colleges say veto to need-based tuition grants could leave students without funding

James F Clay

Private colleges across the state say a line item veto from the Governor could leave students without need-based grants.

As many as 17,000 college students across Michigan could have to pay back thousands of dollars in state grants that were cut from the state budget.

As part of her line item vetoes the Governor cut roughly $38-million in grants for private college students.

Mark Martin is with Northwood University. He said the aid has already been disbursed to student accounts, expecting they would be reimbursed by the state.

“Now with the Governor’s veto we’re thinking we need to take this money back, this state money back, if things don’t get resolved in Lansing,” he said.

In the interest of transparency Northwood University is a financial supporter of WCMU.

Jeff Abernathy is the President of Alma College. He said the college will work to help students find funding to help them stay.

“It will be a challenge,” he said. “It’ll be a situation where we are speaking with each student individually and trying to ensure that they can continue their studies at Alma college, which is certainly our intent.”

Abernathy said students have already received the grants as part of their tuition packages. Normally, the state reimburses colleges starting in October.

Robert Lefevre is the President of the Michigan Independent Colleges & Universities.

“I don’t think it’s fair to suggest that the cuts were all pork or wasteful spending,” he said. “These are real programs that help real students that push the economic vitality of the state forward.”

Lefevre said he is pushing for both Republicans and Democrats to come back to the table.

A spokesperson for the Governor’s office said the Republican budget forced “hard choices.”

She added that if Republican’s want to come back to the table and negotiate, the Governor is ready.