Detroit Mayor Announces Property Taxes Will Pay for ‘Free’ College Tuition for City Students

A section of vacant stores is shown in Detroit, Wednesday, July 27, 2011. Detroit’s mayor unveiled a plan that could determine what the city looks like as it fights for vitality, announcing that neighborhoods will receive different kinds of services depending on the condition of homes, how many people live …
Detroit, MI

Detroit’s Democrat mayor, Mike Duggan, announced that all Detroit students who graduate from a city high school will receive two free years of college tuition at a community college, eventually to be paid for out of the city’s property taxes.

Following a state law allowing it, Detroit has formally launched its “Detroit Promise” program for the tuition.

“We are making a promise to every single child who graduates from a high school in the City of Detroit that you will have your first two years of college paid for,” Duggan told the media. “We’re going to build from here to the point where we’re ultimately going to raise money so it can be four years, but today it’s two years.”

The city council built the program as an expansion of the Detroit Scholarship Fund, which has already aided 1,500 Detroit students to attend college.

Following state rules, the first two years the new program is in existence will be paid for by donations from local foundations and corporations. Three foundations have already donated $3 million to the program.

But beginning in 2018, the program will be funded by a hike in property taxes.

The program starts amid statistics that show the City of Detroit to be one of the nation’s largest cities, with a long record of losing population as residents flee high taxes, crime, and urban decay. In 2014, for instance, the Motor City lost almost 6,500 residents. But the years previous were even worse. During the 2000s, Detroit lost upwards to 24,000 citizens to outward migration every year.

With property taxes on the verge of jumping to pay for this “free” tuition, the costs may cause even more citizens to leave the city.

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