Lawmaker seeks to make college more affordable for Flint student - WNEM TV 5

Lawmaker seeks to make college more affordable for Flint students

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(Source: WNEM) (Source: WNEM)

As local high schoolers dream about going off to college, many are also wondering how they'll afford it.

A local lawmaker wants to ease that burden for students in one Mid-Michigan city.

"I feel like debt is something that can harm you in life," said Keonia Thompson, senior at Southwestern Classical Academy in Flint.

Thompson wants to go into engineering or the medical field, but is wary of the high price tag of those degrees.

"I kinda wanna go into a major that I won't have to go to school for a long time. So won't go into as much debt. So I can't really do what I want to do," Thompson said.

Senator Jim Ananich wants to help people like Thompson. On Monday he announced his push to continue to make Flint a promise zone - a bill that would help Flint students pay for college.

Ananich said funding for the program would be privately collected for the first two years.

"After that would capture the growth of the property taxes that go to the schools. Half would go to the schools and half would go to the promise zone. It's the growth. There would be no cut to current schools in any way shape or form. It's a real win win," Ananich said.

He said since the quality and success of schools directly correlates with the property values, when the property values increase the students get help with college.

There are 10 other school districts in the state that have adopted a similar legislation.

Ananich said because of the water crisis it is important to look for ways to make Flint a more viable place to live.

"To show people in Flint, business community folks looking to stay or not. That is a decision a lot of people are making here in Flint. There will be an option if you do," Ananich said.

As for Thompson, she said she is keeping her grades up to get a scholarship.

"I really hope it passes for the class of 2017 because we have been through a lot of things. So I feel that with this bill a lot of us could go to college," Thompson said.

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