For the residents of Baldwin, Michigan, college isn’t a luxury item—it’s a necessity.
Baldwin, Michigan. Image via Wikimedia
The median income in Baldwin, Michigan, hovers around $16,489 a year. That’s far below an already devastatingly low poverty line, and not nearly enough to sent a high school graduate to college. But a couple of years ago, an organization known as The Baldwin Promise decided to change all that, and offered a $5,000 college scholarship to all the local high school students who wanted to attend college.
University of Michigan. Image via Wikimedia
According to CityLab, the $5,000 can be used to attend any school in Michigan, public or private. Though that may not seem like a lot in NYU terms (current tuition rates, combined with room and board, hover around $65,860), it makes a big impact in Michigan, especially when combined with Pell Grants. The organization offers more than money, too. Baldwin Promise teaches students about college from the moment they enter kindergarten to the second they graduate, assisting them with counseling, support, and advocacy.
While Baldwin might seem like a small town—population estimates hover around 1,200—organizers hope the “Promise” can make a big difference, and have an even bigger ripple effect. Bernie Sanders wants free public college education. Hillary Clinton wants to enroll a multibillion dollar college affordability plan. Donald Trump wants … who knows what Donald Trump wants. The Baldwin Promise may seem like a small program, but it carries a huge symbolic stick.