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I've talked a great deal about the Michigan 2020 Plan in recent months, a proposal that my colleagues in the Senate Democratic Caucus and I put forward earlier this year that would give each and every high school graduate in our state the opportunity to attend college and have it paid for in its entirety.
It’s a bold idea that’s based on the resounding success of the Kalamazoo Promise. It would not only give our students opportunities that exist nowhere else in the nation, but would bring jobs to Michigan by creating the most educated and highly skilled workforce in America.
Best of all, the Michigan 2020 Plan could be paid for in its entirety without raising taxes one cent.
Thanks to the tremendous response to the plan from people all across the state, my Republican colleagues in the Senate agreed to hold a hearing on the plan earlier this year. They heard from economic and education experts who all agreed the Michigan 2020 Plan would be an incredible investment in the future of our state and our people.
Unfortunately, despite the overwhelming testimony in support of the plan during that hearing, my Republican colleagues have refused to hold further hearings or allow the legislation to enact the Michigan 2020 Plan to be voted on.
As this week is National College Affordability Week, it’s an opportunity for us to reengage and continue this needed dialogue on the growing problem of student debt and the barriers it creates for students in obtaining a college education.
The organization Young Invincibles is helping to lead that effort this week by engaging students directly to help educators and elected officials understand the impacts of rising education costs. They are hosting a contest on Facebook asking students to submit a short video that allows them to tell their personal story about student debt and the cost of their education. The winner will receive $500 toward their textbooks or student loan repayments, so if you know a student that would like to share their story, please encourage them to enter today.
I also hope you’ll take the time this week to contact your State Representative and Senator and tell them that Michigan has an opportunity to immediately move to the head of the class in terms of educating our children by enacting the Michigan 2020 Plan. If we speak out together, we can turn the Michigan 2020 Plan into reality and not only eliminate the future costs of higher education for our next generation of Michigan leaders, but give our economy the spark it needs to create the jobs that our college graduates are looking for.