LANSING, Mich. – Students studying theology or other religious studies would soon be eligible for state scholarship.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm would still have to sign the bills into law, but the Michigan Senate’s decision to approve House changes to a package of bills marked the first step to affect the Michigan Merit Scholarship, Michigan Educational Opportunity Grant, Michigan Competitive Scholarship, Part-time Independent Grant programs and Michigan's Tuition Grant programs. The scholarship bills are Senate Bills 625-628, 661 and 662.
Jeremy Hendges, legislative assistant for Sen. Jason Allen, R-Traverse City, who was influential in initiating the legislation, said, "We see the current law as overbearing and discriminatory. But Senator Allen is very pleased by the support he's received on this legislation."
Currently, state law prohibits students majoring in theology, divinity or religious studies from receiving financial aid or any kind of state funded scholarships. Under the new bill, those students will be eligible for scholarships as long as they are not studying for the ministry.