After more than 75,000 votes were cast, one Michigan high school student won the top prize of $10,000 towards his college tuition.
Jacob Wolf, an 18-year-old senior at Marquette High School, received the scholarship in a contest cooked up by state Senate Democrats to promote their Michigan 2020 Plan, which they say would mitigate tuition costs for the state's students.
According to TV6 in Negaunee, Mich., Wolf enlisted the help of several friends to make his video, in which he imagines himself growing up to be anything he wants -- an artist, psychologist or scientist.
"But I can't do anything without a good education," he says in the video, "and a good education isn't cheap."
Haley Luxton from Burton was the runner-up, winning $2,500, and Ferndale student Natalie Berger won the third place prize of $1,000.
While $1,000, or even $10,000, is only a drop in the bucket of college costs, the contest was meant to draw attention to Democrats' proposed legislation to give Michigan high school graduates grants to attend public colleges and universities in the state.
"While we're giving one student the opportunity to take advantage of it this year, we're hoping all students will be able to" in the future, Michigan Senate Democratic spokesman Robert McCann said earlier.
Democrats say the Michigan 2020 plan, which would cost $1.8 billion annually, would be paid for by sunsetting tax credits and taxing out-of-state online retailers. The legislation is currently in the Senate Finance Committee and unlikely to get support from the Republican majority, but it comes as national attention turns to college costs and spiraling student loan debt.
While modest increases will bump the state's higher education spending up to $1.4 billion next year, Gov. Rick Snyder previously cut Michigan's higher ed budget by 15 percent. Some funding in next year's budget, which passed the Senate earlier this week, is tied to keeping costs down by holding tuition increases at 4 percent or less.
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