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Fewer students applying for the Lansing Promise Scholarship

Lansing Promise scholarship
Posted at 4:52 PM, Jul 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-22 07:17:42-04

LANSING, Mich. — A program designed to give Lansing high school students help with paying for college is seeing a decline in applicants this year.

The Lansing Promise scholarship provides up to $6,500 to eligible students, but this year officials say fewer people are tapping into the program.

The Lansing Promise scholarship provides up to $6,500 to eligible students, but this year officials say fewer people are tapping into the program.

“Despite the pandemic, 50 percent of Lansing’s graduating class applied and was accepted to the Promise in 2021. That’s remarkable. We did mention a decrease, last year it was 65 percent of the graduating class,” said Justin Sheehan, executive director of the Lansing Promise Foundation.

Sheehan thinks there are many reasons for the decrease which including what he calls "Zoom fatigue," meaning students are simply tired of sitting in front of a computer.

Ryan Fewins-Bliss, Michigan College Access Network

Ryan Fewins-Bliss from the Michigan College Access Network thinks the decline can be attributed to what’s happening with the job market right now.

“Folks are getting $500 just to show up to an interview and a $1000 signing bonus. To an 18-year-old coming out of high school, that’s real money. And wages are going up as well so that’s all really positive but we know long-term in the workforce degrees and certificates are going to be required to earn a livable wage,” Fewins-Bliss said.

Kimani Williams just graduated from Everett High School. Both he and his grandmother, Versey Williams, say they weren’t clear on how the Promise scholarship program worked.

Fewer students applying for Lansing Promise Scholarship
Kimani Williams did apply for the program and was awarded $6,500 for tuition costs at MSU

Williams did apply and is using his award to go to Michigan State University in the fall.

“Scholarships did help me pay it off so. I would definitely say Lansing Promise did help me out a lot with that. If I’m not mistaken I got $6,500,” said Kimani.

Versey Williams says she thought the scholarship only covered community college costs.

“I knew about the Hope scholarship but I wasn’t quite sure about the Lansing Promise. But I thought it was only for youth going to LCC,” she said.

Sheehan says everyone involved with the Lansing Promise Scholarship is ramping up efforts to get the word out that it's available for any Lansing student that has gone from ninth through 12th grade in the city, lives in the city and that plans to go to Olivet, MSU or Lansing Community College.

Sheehan says another reason for the decline is that some students are choosing to take a gap year before heading to college.

He says every eligible student has up to a year after graduation to apply for the scholarship.

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