Michigan Promise is important for students

Note: this is an excerpt from a speech given by College Democrats President Brad O’Donnell during the Michigan Promise Rally.

When I was younger, my family’s finances weren’t always sound but, at the end if the day, I knew that because my parents worked hard and fulfilled their commitments everything would work out fine.

But I’m one of the lucky ones because throughout college, both of my parents have been soundly employed and the Michigan Promise provided that extra bit of much needed help during my first two years of college.

For myself and 96,000 of my peers across the state, the Michigan Promise has provided critical assistance during this time of economic uncertainty. Others have not been as lucky as myself. As Jobs have been and as our economy continues to worsen, the Promise has literally been the difference between attending and not attending college for many.

It’s a story that we’ve heard time and time again; a student whose parents have been laid off by our faltering auto industry, the family struggling to make ends meet for multiple children. All the while hoping and praying, that their child’s dream of a college education, of a life more stable and prosperous than their own, is possible.

We need to ask our elected representatives to stay fast and stand strong for Michigan’s Promise. This is not a partisan issue, but a political one. Our voice is an acknowledgment that we, the future leaders of our state, will not stand idly by as opportunity is abandoned. It us a commitment to the idea that the future value if our state is directly related to the value we place on education.

Now I have a promise from the students of Michigan to our elected leaders: any legislator that supports cutting the Promise scholarship will hear from the 96,000 whose education they have jeopardized, in their next election. It’s a promise we are making and it’s a promise we will keep.

Stephen Johnson College Democrats at CMU: Communications Director National Residence Hall Honorary