Michelle Miller-Adams testifies on Promise programs before Michigan Senate

Michelle Miller-Adams testifies before the Michigan Senate on debt-free community college Promise scholarship programs

Michelle Miller-Adams, a senior researcher with the Upjohn Institute, testified June 20 before the Michigan Senate regarding lessons learned from research on free-tuition Promise college scholarship programs. The Committee on Economic and Small Business Development and the Appropriations Subcommittee on Talent and Economic Development met jointly to hear presentations on the MI Reconnect and MI Opportunity Scholarship proposals, which include provisions for debt-free community college.

Miller-Adams offered insight from Tennessee and Rhode Island, two states with active Promise programs similar to the Michigan proposal. Both states have seen more students continue their education past high school and more students completing credentials or degrees. They have also seen more low- and middle-income students attending college.

However, Miller-Adams cautioned that Promise programs aren't "free college"—students still have living expenses and other costs that could deter them from attending college. Students, especially if they're the first in their families to attend college, also need support throughout the process.

Miller-Adams advised that policymakers keep requirements as simple as possible to make the program easier to understand and to run. She also provided cost estimates for the proposed MI Opportunity Scholarship proposal based on a decade of Upjohn Institute Promise program forecasting work.

Video of Miller-Adams' testimony is available on Senate TV. Her remarks begin at 37:20.

Date: June 20, 2019