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Amanda Price bill opens possibility for lowering community college costs

Jordan Climie/Holland Sentinel • Dec 30, 2016 at 12:00 AM

Gov. Rick Snyder has signed House Bill 4265, sponsored by state Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, that would give voters in counties that don't border community college districts the chance to approve joining a district.

It now becomes Public Act 374 of 2016.

"Think of Grand Rapids Community College," Price said. "If we wanted it here in Holland, we would have to go through the whole process of becoming accredited, which is not likely to happen even in Ottawa County. We have to be a contiguous district, but there are several school districts and communities in between.

"This bill allows you to skip over the contiguous stuff and decide what community college you want to join."

There were worries that because of Ottawa County's size, the Michigan Legislature would not approve a new community college for the area.

A big reason Price pushed for this change was that so many area students were paying out-of-district costs while attending community colleges. "It made sense," she said. "You could have these satellite campuses."

Holland is currently the largest city in Michigan without a community college, with the nearest options being GRCC, Muskegon Community College and Montcalm Community College. But attending these colleges would incur those out-of-district costs.

About 25 percent of Michigan's population lives outside of community college districts. If they could join nearby districts, they would avoid the higher tuition charged to out-of-district students.

The bill would also help employers get better access to community college job training programs by reaching beyond the 43 percent of the state's population between the ages of 18 to 24 who are enrolled in college or graduate school.

Co-sponsors include Reps. Winnie Brinks, D-Grand Rapids; Philip Potvin, R-Cadillac; Ken Yonker, R-Caledonia; Roger Victory, R-Hudsonville; and Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan.

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