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Contest Announced To Promote Democrats’ Free Tuition Plan

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LANSING (WWJ) – State Senate Democrats have announced a contest to help promote their proposed plan to provide free college tuition to all Michigan high school grads.

Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer Tuesday announced the “#mi2020 Scholarship Competition” offering the winner a year’s worth of tuition, up to $10,000, at any of Michigan’s community colleges or public universities.

“Michigan can jumpstart its economy and bring jobs to our state by creating the most highly skilled workforce in the nation, and that’s exactly what our Michigan 2020 Plan would do,” said Whitmer, in a statement. “The #mi2020 Scholarship Competition is designed to demonstrate the impact this program would have on a student’s life by giving one high school senior a year’s worth of free tuition right now while we continue to work towards enacting this critically important program for all Michigan students.”

To enter, students are asked to submit a short web video at www.mi2020video.com that explains the importance of investing in higher education and how a plan to offer free tuition to all in Michigan makes sense for our state.  Submissions open today, March 6, and are due by April 20, 2012. Online voting will begin on April 23 with the top 20 videos moving on to the finals.

Senate Democrats have said they’re ready to move forward with their free tuition plan which is estimated to cost the state about $1.8 billion a year — but at “no additional cost to taxpayers.”

Democrats say, instead, be paid for by “reducing ineffective and outdated tax loopholes.”  But, so far, they haven’t explained further.

Republicans say they’ll be happy to take a look at the plan, but they question just where all that cash will come from.

When asked by WWJ Newsradio 950 for their reaction to the Democrats’ announcement, a spokesperson for Gov. Rick Snyder’s office said they also are a “bit confused,” wondering the same thing. Snyder’s director of communications Geralyn Lasher said the state already did away with most of the business tax credits in Michigan back in 2011.

Democrats are expected to reveal more details and present the legislation this week.

The #mi2020 Scholarship Competition is open to all current Michigan high school seniors. To learn more about eligibility or to enter, visit this link.

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