MacGregor bill would add Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund tax checkoff

Sen. Peter MacGregor

Sen. Peter MacGregor

LANSING, Mich. — Michigan taxpayers would be able to donate a portion of their tax return to the Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund next year under legislation introduced by Sen. Peter MacGregor on Tuesday.

“The Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund was created to serve some of Michigan’s most vulnerable,” said MacGregor, R-Rockford. “This bill would provide the scholarship trust fund with another source of much-needed revenue so more foster youth can attend college. It would also make it easier for residents to show their support by donating a portion of their tax return with a simple checkbox.”

Senate Bill 543 would add the fund to the Michigan Voluntary Contributions Schedule, which allows up to 10 organizations to be listed on tax forms. The Fostering Futures Scholarship Trust Fund would become the tenth.

The fund provides eligible foster youth with scholarships to assist with tuition, room and board and other costs associated with enrollment. Scholarships are available for students enrolled in Michigan degree-granting colleges and universities.

There are approximately 13,000 children in the Michigan foster care system at any given time. Seventy percent of the teens who emancipate from foster care report that they want to attend college, but fewer than 10 percent who graduate from high school ever enroll in college. A growing number of Michigan youth are reaching adult age while in foster care and have no resources to attend college when they age out of the system.

The requirements for an organization to be considered for the voluntary contributions schedule include:

  • Capability of raising at least $50,000;
  • Serves multiple regions throughout the state;
  • Spends at least 30 percent of its budget on administration and fund raising;
  • Previously included on the list within the past three years and was removed due to lack of contributions;
  • Receives state funding or financial assistance; and
  • Is associated with a nonprofit.

The fund would remain on the voluntary contributions schedule until its designation expires or if it does not receive at least $50,000 in donations for two consecutive years.

A companion measure, SB 544, sponsored by Sen. Marty Knollenberg, would provide the technical language to direct the state Department of Treasury to issue donations to the fund.

SBs 543 and 544 have been referred to the Senate Finance Committee for consideration.