LANSING, Mich., February 23, 2024: Governor Gretchen Whitmer released the following statement after the Center for Educational Performance and Information reported that Michigan’s graduation rate is at the second highest-level ever, second only to the 2019-2020 rate, during the governor’s first year in office. The governor made education a central focus of her 2024 State of the State Address, calling to expand pre-K for all and make community college tuition-free for all high school graduates.

“Michigan’s graduation rate increased for the second year in a row and is approaching an all-time high. These numbers reflect the work we’ve been doing to make sure every child gets a quality education that sets them up for future success,” said Governor Whitmer. “Last year, we increased mental health and after-school counseling, expanded tutoring programs to get kids back on track, and delivered free breakfast and lunch to every public school student in Michigan. We are going to build on this momentum, which is why we proposed the Michigan Guarantee in this year’s budget, so every Michigander is guaranteed a tuition-free path from pre-k through community college. Let’s get it done.”

The Michigan Guarantee

In her 2024 State of the State Address, the Governor laid out her vision to improve education in Michigan. The Governor proposed the Michigan Guarantee, so every Michigander can have access to quality education from pre-k through community college. Free pre-K saves families an average of $10,000 a year and helps students build a solid academic foundation for long-term success, improving literacy rates and closing achievement gaps. The governor also wants to make the first two years of community college tuition-free for every high school graduate. This will save students an average of $4,000 as they earn an associate’s degree or skills certificate at a community college, helping them land a better-paying, high-skill job in a career field they are passionate about.

Governor Whitmer’s Record, Bipartisan Investments in Education

In 2023, Governor Whitmer signed a historic, bipartisan education budget that made the highest per-student investment in Michigan history. The budget made record investments in mental health and school safety, individualized tutoring and academic support through the MI Kids Back on Track Program, and secured funds to retain and develop existing teachers through mentoring programs. The budget also delivered on free breakfast and lunch for all 1.4 million public school students and expanded free pre-k to 5,600 four-year-olds for this academic year. The Governor also set the Sixty by 30 Goal to have at least 60% of Michiganders earn a degree or skill certificate by 2030 and created the Office of Sixty by 30 to lead the state’s effort. Governor Whitmer also lowered the age of Michigan Reconnect from 25 to 21, offering Michigander’s tuition-free associate degree or skills certificate in high-demand careers.