LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — They call it the Michigan Achievement Scholarship for college students, and while it is the largest state assistance program ever, there are concerns in the higher education community over the long term funding.

Around 80% of all families in Michigan are eligible for assistance from the $500 million Michigan Achievement Scholarship.

Those attending a four-year university are able to get up to $5,500 in scholarship funds, there’s $4,000 for those attending independent college programs and $2,750 for community college students.

The thing is, the program is funded on a year-to-year basis.

So when the next recession hits, lawmakers may be forced to scrap the scholarship.

This isn’t the first time a scholarship was scrapped, the same was done to the Michigan Promise Scholarship.

To avoid that disruption, the higher education lobby wants lawmakers to find a permanent funding source that is not at risk every year, including Robert LeFevre, the president of Michigan Independent Colleges and Universities.

“We do want to keep our eye on the long term because there will be a recession and we want to make sure that this program is protected from the recession,” said LeFevre.

The Independent College Association has asked the state budget director for their earmark, but other folks want a chunk of the huge tax.

“It currently has about a billion dollars so there is enough to do several things with it, but I’ll admit, I’m not the first guy to walk in with the idea to get a portion of the corporate income tax,” continued LeFevre.

Lansing Senator Sarah Anthony, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, favors the permanent funding concept, as does the House Budget Chair Representative Angela Witwer.

“They like the idea of a dedicated revenue source but they are not fully committed on whether it’s going to be the corporate income tax or another piece,” said LeFevre.

Those who graduate from high school this year could be in line for state financial aid which is in the budget for the next two years.

Higher education hopes to pass a permanent funding source by the end of 2023 to guarantee the aid well into the future.