The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

The Voice of the Loy Norrix Community

Knight Life

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Students plan for financing higher education with the Kalamazoo Promise

Credit: Emily Porco
Senior Ella Pickett fills out her college applications on Common App.

For decades, students have struggled with finding the money to pay for postsecondary education. Whether they get family help or financial aid, many Americans find themselves in a blackhole of student loan debt. 

According to LendingTree, as of 2023, all Americans who have taken out student loans still owe a cumulative $1.77 trillion in debt. Although these rates have historically risen, the rate at which the debt is rising seems to be decreasing according to Education Data.

Taking on debt through loans, however, is not the only way to pay for college. Many students take advantage of parental contributions in order to pay for college. Parental contribution makes up 43% of typical education funding sources for an academic year, according to Going Merry. Parental contribution comes in many forms, including giving students a loan without interest, giving them money for nothing in return, or giving money in exchange for work around the house or other odd jobs.

Loy Norrix senior Ella Pickett plans to go to Hope College. She wants to attend Hope because of its strong medical research team, which would further her career in the medical field. 

For one semester of Hope College, tuition costs over $19 thousand  without any financial aid. Most individuals do not have this much money to spend on just tuition, and Pickett understands that she will not be able to afford college with what money she has right now. She plans on paying for college with the help of her family members and taking advantage of the Kalamazoo Promise. 

“I’m choosing a private school where all the funding is covered, so I get a nicer school but still use the Promise,” Pickett said. Pickett is also being supported by her family’s contributions to her college education.  

Fortunately, many students of Kalamazoo Public Schools have access to  free tuition for most schools in Michigan. The Kalamazoo Promise has given over $180 million and continues to lead students to success with extra support. There are even Promise Pathway Coaches who “work directly in each KPS high school to assist seniors in their transition to post-secondary,” according to the Kalamazoo Promise website.

Norrix’s Promise Pathway coach is Detavia Moore, who works to make sure that all seniors fill out their Promise paperwork and create a scholarship account. In order to sign up to get the Kalamazoo Promise, register your account on the Kalamazoo Promise website, complete the application and survey, then finalize your Scholarship Acceptance Form. Moore mentioned that he helps “navigate people’s journey.”

He has found that the main way students pay for college is through the Kalamazoo Promise since it helps so much with tuition. Students also use scholarships like the merit scholarship.

When considering the number of students going to college, Moore has found that the Promise has helped get more students to college that may not have been able to afford it before. 

The Promise provides up to 100% tuition for post-secondary education, as long as students have remained in the district since kindergarten. As students grow up in the Kalamazoo district, they have been told plenty of times how they will have the Promise as somewhat of a safety net for paying for college. This, however, doesn’t mean that students shouldn’t apply for grants and scholarships.

Seniors Jada Mongeau-Harris and Jaelyn Harrison both plan to go to Grand Valley State University. Their main plan to support themselves financially is by using grants and scholarships. 

“I’m choosing a college in Michigan so that I can get free tuition, since I have the full Promise,” Harrison said. “The money from scholarships doesn’t need to go to tuition, so it will go to other stuff.”

Harrison plans on using scholarships as a big part of her payment to college. According to Michigan Student Aid, “Student scholarships, grants and outreach has provided funding for scholarships and grants exceeding $5 billion, serving more than four million Michigan students to achieve their higher education goals.”

The high cost of post secondary education is one of the main reasons why students  don’t want to go to college. With help from family, financial aid, and the Kalamazoo Promise, however, students’ paths to college are simplified.

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Emily Porco
Emily Porco, Social Media Editor
Hi, I am the Social Media Editor for Knight Life. This year I am a senior and have been on Knight Life for two years. I decided to join Knight Life because I have always enjoyed writing and Knight Life is a great way to explore that interest. In my free time I like to read and hang out with my friends. Pronouns: she/her/hers
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