About the

Saginaw Promise

Inspiring a culture of higher education

The Saginaw Promise is at its core, a “last dollar”, “place based” scholarship program, designed to serve as a catalyst for economic development in Saginaw, an initiative to retain and attract new families and businesses to the community through a focus and support for postsecondary education for all of its graduating students (who live within the Promise Zone and graduate from a high school within the Promise Zone; geographic boundaries of the Saginaw Public School District).

Student and Parent Information Sheet

Saginaw Promise Awards

Saginaw Promise scholarship awards and criteria are as follows:

  • The SPZ scholarship can only be used at colleges, trade schools or universities in Michigan.
  • SPZ awards are to be used for tuition and mandatory fees only.
  • Awards vary and are based on whether you attend a two year college/or certificate program or plan to attend a four year university.
  • Saginaw Promise Scholarships are “last dollar” scholarships. The amount awarded is determined last and is based on what other financial aid is received, such as funds, scholarships or grants awarded for tuition and mandatory fees. For example, if you receive no other scholarships or grants, the SPZ award will provide the tuition and fees necessary to obtain an associate’s degree or its equivalent at Delta College to be used at any community college or accredited trade/vocational school in the State of Michigan toward a 2 year degree. If you receive other funds or scholarships, the SPZ award will cover remaining tuition and mandatory fees only. Size of the SPZ award will be determined by financial information provided by financial aid officer completing the “General Scholarship Financial information Form”. If you plan to attend a 4 year university, and have need of dollars for tuition and mandatory fees, our current award is $2,000 for the school year, $1,000 per fall and winter semesters.
  • Saginaw Promise Scholarships are available for two years of postsecondary education and must be used within three years of high school graduation.
  • You must complete FAFSA and the Saginaw Community Foundation Scholarship application each of the two years you would like to be considered to receive a SPZ scholarship.
  • All Saginaw Promise scholarship payments are paid directly to the Financial Aid office of the institution you attend (fall and winter semesters). Scholarships are also based on how long you have lived in the Promise Zone and how many years you have attended schools within the Promise Zone.
  • The Saginaw Promise scholarship will be pro-rated based on the number of years the student with his/her parent(s), custodial parent(s) or guardian(s) have resided in the Promise Zone using the sliding scale.
  • Time in District Percentage of Scholarship
    • K-12 or 6-12: 100%
    • 8-12: 80%
    • 9-12: 75%
    • 10-12: 65%
    • 11-12: 25%
    • 12 only: 0%
    • GED: 10%

About Us

The Saginaw Promise believes that postsecondary education is the key to positively impacting students’ future success, their families, stabilizing the community and stimulating economic growth and wellbeing. The Saginaw Promise is working to affect Saginaw’s economy and quality of life by promoting and supporting a culture of postsecondary education for all of its graduating students through information, programming and “last dollar” scholarships.

The Saginaw Promise provides information and resources to assist students and parents to navigate and finance postsecondary education. The overall goal of the Saginaw Promise is for all of Saginaw’s graduating students to earn a degree from a community college or university or a program certificate from a technical or trade school. The Saginaw Promise further believes that by strengthening Saginaw, our core urban center, we strengthen surrounding communities and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region.

Saginaw Promise and its volunteers work annually to raise the funds necessary to award scholarships to eligible students who reside in the City of Saginaw, Zilwaukee, Kochville Township and that area of Buena Vista designated to the Saginaw Public School District. Saginaw Promise scholarships are determined last to assist with tuition and mandatory fees only, not covered by financial aid, such as federal, state, private or other grants and scholarships for a period of two years. (For Scholarship award levels, please see Saginaw Promise Awards)

*The “Saginaw Promise Zone Authority is a non-profit authority board and staff created under the State of Michigan Promise Act (Act 550 of 2008).

Mission: The Saginaw Promise will transform and infuse the community as an economic initiative while cultivating higher education through a scholarship program.

Vision: The Saginaw Promise is an investment to enhance the quality of life for Saginaw residents, stimulate economic development and cultivate a culture of learning amongst youth.

The History of Promise Zones

The success of the Kalamazoo Promise, which started in 2005, the nation’s first universal scholarship program, inspired Michigan to be the first state in our nation to create “place-based” scholarship initiatives to increase educational attainment and to spur economic growth in a community. Governor Jennifer Granholm and the legislature invited communities to apply to be designated Promise Zones, through an application process, established by the Michigan Department of Treasury. On April 25, 2009, Governor Granholm announced that ten Michigan communities had been designated Promise Zones. Unlike, the Kalamazoo Promise, which benefited from a large endowment, funded by several donors; Michigan’s other Promise Zones must raise their programming and scholarship funds annually from special events, sponsorships, donations and grants and when achieved, 50% of any increase in growth or value to their SET. Promise Zones are an economic and education initiative established by State and local community leaders to address declining populations and infuse the economy of core urban cities by:

  • Stimulating economic and educational growth.
  • Cultivating a culture of postsecondary education.
  • Present an incentive to retain current residents and attract new residents.

Saginaw Promise Board and Emeritus Members

  • Thomas A. Braley, Trustee (Managing Director-Investment Officer, Wells Fargo Advisors, LLC)
  • David R. Gamez, Vice Chairman (Member Board of Control, SVSU)
  • Gil Johnson, Trustee (President-Owner, Saginaw Valley Ford Lincoln, Inc.)
  • Mark Johnston, Trustee (Site Manager, Qualified Staffing Services [Hemlock Semiconductor Site])
  • Cynthia Reyes, Trustee (Admissions Advisor, Delta College)
  • Joyce Seals, Chairman (Former Mayor, City of Saginaw)
  • Dr. Marvin T. Smith, Trustee (Pastor, Mt. Olive Institutional Missionary Baptist Church)
  • Dana Tell, Trustee (Vice President of Marketing, Team One Credit Union)
  • Dr. Mamie Thorns, Trustee (SVSU – Special Asst. to the President for Diversity Programs)
  • Laura Yockey, Treasurer (Sr. Lender, Saginaw Community President, Chemical Bank)
  • Deborah Sanchez, Director

Emeritus Members:

Norman Braddock, Joe Madison, Diane Scorsone, Jimmy Greene, Mike Manley, Kathryn Curtiss Spence, John Humphreys, Odie Pruitt, Karen Lawrence-Webster, Kimberly Houston-Philpot, Carl Ruth