Editorial: Fulfilling the Lansing Promise
April 24, 2015 | Lansing, MI
This week Lansing's Promise Scholarship program will be in the limelight as hometown favorite Earvin "Magic" Johnson returns for a fundraiser.
The scholarship program has been sinking deep roots, building community ties, raising money and launching its scholars toward a brighter future. In a recent visit to the LSJ Editorial Board, Dean Transportation CEO Kellie Dean, who chairs the Lansing Promise Board of Directors, reported that 336 students have received scholarship support since the first scholars began classes at Lansing Community College or Michigan State University in 2012. That includes 222 who attended LCC and 114 who attended MSU.
Data on the students is noteworthy:
- At LCC, Promise scholars' average GPA was 2.83, slightly better than the overall average for LCC students at 2.82.
- Also at LCC, the share of scholars who stayed enrolled from fall semester to spring semester (dubbed the "persistence rate") was 70%, which compares to just 52% of the total LCC population.
The Promise Scholarship is available to students who live in the boundaries of the Lansing School District, and attend a public or private high school within those boundaries for at least four consecutive years. That includes the Everett, Sexton and Eastern and Lansing Catholic Central High School. Some who complete a GED by age 20 also are eligible. The scholarship covers an associate's degree at LCC or $5,000 at MSU.
Dean and other community leaders are not sitting on their laurels. Among discussions for the future:
- Expanding the Promise to include technical and vocational education.
- Adding two additional years of eligibility at MSU so that Promise scholars could complete their bachelor's degrees and/or expanding to include additional colleges.
- Talking to veterans affairs officials about adding a program to support returning members of the U.S. military who graduated from eligible high schools.
- And the program continues to prepare for the day when it will be eligible to "capture" taxes to support continued operations, which is allowed under Michigan's Promise Zone law that allowed creation of such local scholarship authorities.
Lansing's program is noteworthy. This is an important effort to secure the region's future prosperity by educating its future workers and business owners. It deserves support.
An LSJ editorial
Support Lansing's Promise Scholarship effort. To help:
- There are still tickets available for the Economic Club's "Special Evening with Earvin 'Magic' Johnson" from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at the Lansing Center. Register at www.lansingchamber.org.
- You can donate directly by visiting www.lansingpromise.org or by sending a check to Lansing Promise at P.O. Box 12177, Lansing, MI 48901.
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