FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 20, 2022
Gov. Whitmer Announces 100 Winners of MET $1.5 Million Giveaway
100 Michigan children to benefit from $15,000 each in prepaid tuition
LANSING, Mich. — Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced 100 winners of the Michigan Education Trust’s (MET) 35-year anniversary $1.5 Million Giveaway – a random, statewide drawing that friends and family could enter on behalf of a child for a chance to win one of 100 $15,000 prepaid tuition prizes.
“This giveaway celebrates MET’s 35 years of providing life-changing opportunities for Michiganders to save for children’s higher education and pave their way for a better future,” said Governor Whitmer. “As a MET alumna myself, this program is near and dear to my heart. My parents used MET to save for my future education and I’m guessing there are a lot of future leaders in all walks of life out there right now whose families are saving with MET.”
The governor was joined by Bureau Director Robin Lott of the Michigan Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning, within the Department of Treasury, MET Alumna Lisa Ingall, MET alumnus Nick Armes, and 10 of the 100 winners from all corners of the state.
A prudent investment strategy over the last decade resulted in a record surplus for MET, which can now be used to invest in Michiganders. Earlier this year, the MET Board of Directors unanimously agreed to use a portion of the surplus to elevate awareness of MET and provide more Michigan children with access to higher education that will help them prepare to compete in a modern workforce and solve future challenges.
Under MET’s giveaway, Michigan residents 18 years or older on August 31, 2022, were eligible to enter on behalf of children ages birth to 5 by the same date for a chance to win $15,000 in prepaid tuition. The prepaid tuition prize may be used to pay for future tuition and mandatory fees at a community college, college, university or trade school in accordance with MET terms and conditions.
“For 35 years, MET has been providing families peace of mind as they work to help provide their children with a debt-free start to pursue their dreams,” said Bureau Director Robin Lott of the Michigan Office of Postsecondary Financial Planning. “We are excited to shine a $1.5 million spotlight on MET and show parents, grandparents and others how it’s a safe, secure and flexible way to make sure their loved ones meet their future education and career goals. Our message is to remind Michiganders that while you can’t predict the future, you sure can prepare for it.”
Ingall, a 1998 University of Michigan graduate who now works for KLA, a global technology company that serves the semiconductor industry with a corporate headquarters in Ann Arbor, was part of the inaugural MET class.
“My mother told me when I was in elementary school, “You’re getting a college degree before you ever think about getting married,” said MET Alumna Lisa Ingall. “Her MET investment was the beginning of a hand-me-down tradition in our family of using the MET savings plan to make college more affordable for myself and other relatives – including my sister, my son, and soon my two nieces.”
In 2022, MET alumnus Armes landed a job with Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Rays after graduating from Central Michigan University.
“My journey to the big leagues didn’t start with my first glove, a new bat or a pitching regimen in my backyard,” said MET alumnus Nick Armes, a Livonia native who is director of fan experience at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. “It began the day my parents started saving for my higher education with the Michigan Education Trust.”
10 of the 100 winners told how the $15,000 will help their families.
- Tiki Green, a leasing consultant from Inkster, who is both grandmother and legal guardian to Nylah, 4. She described how winning the MET prize comes on the heels of two family tragedies within the last year: the death of her 25-year-old daughter Asha (Nylah’s mother) in a car accident and the Covid-related loss of her brother and sister-in-law within hours of each other that left their 7 children without parents.
- Justin Yow, of Lake Orion, an engineer, first-generation college graduate and father of four who designated his MET prize for his 4-year-old daughter Amelia. She wants to be a scientist.
- Vincent Baker, of DeWitt, a manager at LiquidWeb and father of two who wants his children, Vivian and Caroline, to continue his family’s legacy as MSU Spartans.
- Michelle Nguyen, of Waterford, an auto industry engineer and mother to three-year-old daughter Lexi Luu. Lexi Luu wants to be a doctor. Michelle immigrated to the U.S. when she was 16 and is overjoyed that her daughter will get a great start to her college education.
- Scott Paul Bethke, of Fenton, is retired and the father of three grown triplets. He has 7 grandchildren and plans to use his MET prize for his grandson, Roman.
- Kristy Hudson, of Ferndale, an early intervention teacher, who shed tears of joy at hearing that she can use her prize for her foster son Adam. She noted that only 3% of foster children pursue higher education and how the MET prize further helps set Adam up for success.
- Nicole Richards, of Ferndale, a stay-at-home mother of three and MET alumna who plans to use her MET award for her son Darwin. He wants to go into medicine when he grows up.
- Zachary White, of Allendale, a nurse practitioner at Muskegon Family Care and father of two, James and Evelyn.
- Jameson Keating-Ehlers, of Kawkawlin in Bay County, a gas service field leader for Consumers Energy and father of three daughters, didn’t go to college himself. But he hopes the MET prize will help his daughters pursue their dreams.
- Holly Walker, of Sanford in Midland County, a business learning leader and mother of three, Weston, Max and Josie. The Walker family is still recovering from the massive damage to their home that occurred when dams collapsed and flooded the region in 2020. She is grateful for the peace of mind winning the MET prize gives her family after undergoing such a hardship.
About the Michigan Education Trust
Administered by the Michigan Department of Treasury, MET lets families pay today’s prices for future higher education costs. Signed into law in December 1986, it was the first prepaid tuition program in the nation.
More than 96% of high school graduates participating in MET have attended a college, university or technical school.
There are three types of MET plans: the full benefits plan, the limited benefits plan and the community college plan. Families can purchase one plan or mix and match options.
MET benefits can be used for postsecondary education at universities, colleges and technical schools. If a child chooses to attend a private Michigan school or out-of-state college or university, funds can be directed to that institution. MET benefits may also be transferred to other eligible family members and are refundable if the student chooses to attend trade school or does not attend college.
Parents, grandparents or other family and friends can make MET contributions on behalf of beneficiaries. MET has flexible and convenient payment options that allow purchasers to pay as they go, pay all at once or make monthly payments.
Contributions to MET plans are tax deductible on Michigan tax returns. Earnings are tax exempt if they are used for qualified higher education expenses.
Expanding access to education and skills after high school
Governor Whitmer believes each Michigander deserves a path to a high wage job, and she is committed to making college degrees and skill certificates available and affordable for more residents.
- Michigan Reconnect, a program that pays tuition of Michiganders 25 and up to pursue an associate degree or earn a skills certificate in high-demand careers. Over 100,000+ applicants accepted into program.
- Futures for Frontliners, providing a tuition-free path to postsecondary education or skills training for Michiganders who served on the frontlines of the pandemic. Over 85,000 applicants accepted into the program.
- Partnered with colleges to improve college completion rates for students enrolled in Reconnect and Futures—and all students.
- Strengthened our community colleges and universities with operational increases—including establishing minimum per student funding at universities for the first time.
- Secured $250 million to create a new scholarship program to make college more affordable for more Michigan students.
- Created the Center for Adult College Success to improve adult enrollment and college completion.
- Expanded access to state student loan forgiveness for eligible health providers.