Detroit Announces Free Community College Tuition Program

March 28, 2016

By Elizabeth Morgan, Director of External Relations 

On March 22, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced that graduates of Detroit high schools can attend two years at a local community college tuition-free. The Detroit Promise last-dollar scholarship will be available to graduates of any Detroit public, private, or charter high school. Students must live in Detroit and attend high school in the city for at least their junior and senior years. The Detroit Promise is a partnership of the Detroit Promise Zone and the Detroit Regional Chamber, and it expands on the existing Detroit Scholarship Fund. NCAN looks forward to celebrating the new scholarship at our national conference in Detroit in September.

“We are making a promise to every single child who graduates from a high school in the City of Detroit that you will have your first two years of college paid for,” Mayor Mike Duggan said. Detroit will pay for the program with philanthropic contributions in the first two years and then transition to revenue from a property tax set-aside, the Detroit Free Press reported. According to CNN, the program will serve about 500 students each year at a cost of approximately $680 per student.

“We welcome the Detroit Promise as a powerful example of collaboration and what we can achieve when we work together, and also as a permanent, dedicated funding source – a guarantee that kids will be able to go to college, no matter their family’s economic status,” Detroit Regional Chamber CEO and President Sandy Baruah said in a press release. “Increasing educational attainment in our largest city is critical to the region’s competitiveness and growth.”

“The Detroit Promise is a critical asset in the college access strategy for Detroit and will change the lives of students and their families,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of the Michigan College Access Network. “MCAN and the Detroit College Access Network look forward to continuing our collaboration with the Detroit Promise leaders and helping more students access college.”

To receive the scholarship for 2016-17, students must:

  • Successfully complete and submit the FAFSA by June 30.
  • Register with the Detroit Scholarship Fund by June 30.
  • Be admitted to one of the five participating community colleges.
  • Participate in the mandatory student academic success activities as outlined by the participating community colleges. This may include orientation sessions, study groups and/or classes on academic success.

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