November 23, 2009/The Detroit News
By Marisa Schultz
Hundreds of Wayne State University students rallied on campus Monday to urge state lawmakers to restore their college scholarships.
Students wore yellow T-shirts, waved signs and chanted "Keep the Michigan Promise!" in protest of a decision by lawmakers to eliminate the $140 million Michigan Promise Scholarship.
"One thousand dollars is a lot to lose in a year, especially for students," said freshman John Fitzgerald, 19, who was among the 96,000 Michigan students counting on the scholarship this fall.
Gov. Jennifer Granholm has been making college visits this month and students across the state have been rallying support for the Legislature to provide the scholarship money.
Some colleges have agreed to fund all or part of the scholarship, while others have left students with the bill.
At Wayne State, police closed down one side of Warren Avenue for the rally. About 500 people gathered in front of the WSU Welcome Center, police estimated.
The yellow shirts distributed by student council to save the Promise had the amounts the state spends on each prisoner in the state -- $30,655 -- and then the cost spent on each public university student -- $5,700.
To protest the disparity, student Chris Lecznar, 25, and others wore black and white prisoner costumes.
"I would have a better life right now if I were in prison," he said, referring to all the free meals and amenities offered to inmates whereas students like him are struggling to pay their bills.
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