The Lansing Art Gallery & Education Center is located in downtown Lansing, and has been a part of the Lansing community for 50 years. Throughout that time, it has changed locations and staff, but one of its most long-standing traditions has been going on for over three decades. This tradition is known as the Art Scholarship Alert, or ASA. It is a juried competition that exhibits the work of high school students from nine counties across Michigan, and awards winners financial assistance as well as recognition for their achievements in the arts. According to the art gallery’s website it has awarded collectively $106,000 to young artists in the area.
In 2009 Holt Public Schools with the help of the surrounding community and Lansing Community College, wanted to make it possible for students to further their education, even if they didn’t have the financial means. That’s when then-Holt Public Schools Superintendent, Dr. Johnny Scott, along with his board members founded the H.O.L.T. scholarship program, with the first scholarships being given out in 2011. H.O.L.T. stands for Helping Others Learn Together. This fund will help children who are at risk of not furthering their education access two years of free tuition at Lansing Community College in exchange for graduating from Holt High School. According to the H.O.L.T Scholarship Program information, a student is eligible based on the U.S. Department of Education’s criteria for at-risk students. The U.S. Department of Education website states that the criteria includes race, whether the student live in a single parent home and whether the student’s family income is on or below the poverty line.
Among the normal township business at the March meeting of the Delhi Township Board of Trustees, Trustee Jon Harmon gave a report on a scholarship fund he is planning to start. The scholarship is geared toward higher education for public safety workers. Harmon said that when he was elected as a township trustee he had no idea the position was paid, so when a raise for trustees was voted through he decided to give back to the community. Harmon said he wanted to do something constructive with the raise and thought that a scholarship would be a good idea. “How do I create something that will benefit people long after I have been voted out of office,” Harmon asked.
The massive expenses behind higher education in America have been a hot button issue for many years. Every year, thousands of students graduate with thousands of dollars of student loan debt to their name. It may seem like an unbearable vicious cycle to most, but Michigan State University’s Office of Financial Aid stresses that there are options available that will keep students from going into default. Reaching default haunts credit scores for years, affecting what purchases a person can make. Graduates today are using plans that tie loan payments to income. These income-based programs are built to make loan repayment manageable and make life easier for those who struggle to find a job, although the Financial Aid staff does warn about interest collecting when you miss payments.
By SAM INGLOT
Capital News Service
LANSING—High school students in some of Michigan’s most impoverished communities may soon have access to free college tuition. “Education is the closest thing we have to a silver bullet when it comes to escaping the cycle of poverty,” said Brandy Johnson, executive director of Michigan College Access Network, a key group responsible for the program. In what are called “Promise Zones,” the Michigan College Access Network is fostering public and private partnerships to create scholarships for any student who graduates from a high school in a designated zone, Johnson said. The program has three steps, said Chuck Wilbur, a consultant with Public Policy Associates, which works with Michigan College Access Network. Wilbur was also a senior policy advisor for former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.