Michigan Credit Union Aims to Help Ease 'Brain Drain'
Michigan is having a tough time convincing its college grads to stay put in the Wolverine State. So much in fact, that it’s tossing around an idea to give Michigan-area college grads who earn bachelor degrees a tax credit.
With that in mind, the $500 million Community Choice Credit Union, based in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills and serving eight counties located in Southeast Michigan, awarded $100,000 in college scholarships to 20 high school seniors on May 9. The scholars will attend a university or college in Michigan and pledge to use their education to give back to their local communities.
“The Community Choice Foundation was created in 2009 with the thought that the credit union can use its position in our communities as a means to create positive change,” said Robert Bava, its president/CEO.
“In the spirit of credit unions, which are people helping people, the Community Choice Foundation has provided over $500,000 in financial assistance to our scholars who are committed to giving back to their Michigan communities," Bava said. "We are proud to be a part of a growing movement to retain Michigan’s best and brightest.”
The University of Michigan will gain 11 scholars with the credit union’s help. Michigan State will receive three and Oakland University, Wayne State, Michigan Technological University, Kalamazoo College, University of Detroit Mercy and Eastern Michigan University will all receive one student each.
State Rep. Andy Schor, D-Lansing, is the sponsor of House Bill 4182, which would provide tax credits to college graduates of public or private four-year colleges and universities in Michigan.
“Graduates of our colleges and universities are key to reversing the brain drain, and my plan can help create an incentive to keep these students working here in Michigan after they graduate,” Schor said.
Michigan students who graduated from a four-year college or university in 2011 left school with an average debt of $27,451, according to the nonprofit Institute for College Access and Success, with nearly two out of three finishing in the red. A 2008 survey found that roughly half of Michigan graduates left the state within a year.