Michigan Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters proposed this month that $1.1 million will be awarded to Southeast Michigan students to increase graduation rates. The plan is funded by the Department of Education’s TRIO Student Support Services Program, an outreach resource dedicated to assisting students from underprivileged backgrounds.

Eligible students include those from low-income families, first generation college students, and students with disabilities.

The Wayne County Community College District will be receiving $388,500 of the plan’s funding, the largest cut of any other beneficiary. The second highest beneficiary is Siena Heights University in Adrian, which will be receiving $284,219.

The University of Detroit Mercy and Madonna University in Livonia will acquire $219,263 and $244,120, respectively.

These four schools are part of the more than 20 colleges in Michigan that were selected this year to receive support from TRIO in the form of tutoring and financial aid planning. This grant is simply the latest attempt to boost college graduation rates, specifically in Southeast Michigan.

In April, Sen. Stabenow introduced the Early Pell Promise Act, which dedicates two years of Pell Grants, government funding for college students, to low-income 8th graders. Stabenow based the Promise Act on the Kalamazoo Promise, a program that provides complete tuition and fees for resident graduates of Kalamazoo Public Schools for four years at Michigan’s public universities and community colleges.

In a press release, Sen. Stabenow said students with good work ethics deserve the opportunity of a college education.

“Students who work hard and are accepted to college deserve every opportunity to succeed,” said Sen. Stabenow. “Thanks to today’s announcement, more college students across Southeast Michigan will get tutoring, financial aid counseling, and other support they need to finish school.”

Sen. Peters said in the press release the newest plan to provide extra assistance to Southeast Michigan students will strengthen the state’s middle class.

“Whether it’s improving academic support services or increasing financial resources, this support from the Department of Education will bolster efforts to retain and graduate more students in Southeast Michigan,” Sen. Peters said. “Higher education increases economic opportunity and provides a pathway to the middle class, and putting the dream of completing a higher education degree within reach for more Michigan students is critical.”

Correction: A previous version of this article misquoted a source and those statements have been removed.

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