Henry Ford College’s Millage Proposal, February 2024

New millage. Same money.

On Tuesday, February 27, 2024, Dearborn Public School district residents will vote on a millage proposal for Henry Ford College.

This proposal will be called a “new” millage, but we are not asking for any new money.

The current millage is expiring. The millage is a big part of what allows Henry Ford College -- Dearborn's college -- to operate and serve our students and community. The February 27 ballot calls the millage proposal an “increase” because it will renew our expiring millage rate by combining our current 3+1 millage into 4 mills. But there will be no increase in the amount of money.

For media questions about the millage renewal, please contact Rhonda DeLong, rdelong@hfcc.edu, 313-317-6800.

As a service to our community, we have provided the millage renewal information in Arabic (PDF)

خدمة لمجتمعنا، قدمنا معلومات تجديد الضرائب باللغة العربية (PDF)

The millage PDF flyer in English is available for download here.


President Kavalhuna’s videos about the millage proposal

President Kavalhuna created a series of brief videos about the millage proposal to help our community be aware of what the millage is, what it means, and how HFC will use the funds provided if our community renews its generous support for all that you have asked us to do as your college.

You can view all the videos, plus some interviews, on the HFC YouTube channel.

HFC millage proposal, part 1: what you should know

In this 3-minute video, President Kavalhuna talks about what the millage is and how it affects the College and community.

HFC millage proposal, part 2: new or renewal?

In this 90-second video, President Kavalhuna talks about how the millage proposal is just a renewal, and the College is asking for no new money.

HFC millage proposal, part 3: how will HFC use the money?

In this 2.5-minute video, President Kavalhuna talks about how the College uses the millage funding we receive from our Dearborn and Dearborn Heights community.

HFC millage proposal, part 4: how do I know my vote even matters?

In this 2-minute video, President Kavalhuna talks about the concerns that some people have about whether to vote or whether your vote matters.

HFC promotes student success -- see our students’ stories!

If you have ever wondered what kind of student succeeds at HFC, the answer is that there are as many stories as there are students. We are immensely proud of our students’ hard work, accomplishments, and resilience. We do all we can to help them succeed in school, work, and life.

Check out HFC student success stories here


Why is there a millage proposal on the ballot for HFC?

By Michigan law, community college funding consists of three parts:

  1. State appropriations
  2. Student tuition and fees
  3. Local property taxes (millage)

Because Henry Ford College is the community college proudly serving our Dearborn and regional community, the property taxes (millage) we receive from our community (currently four mills) cover almost 20% of our annual operating costs. 1 mill of HFC’s property tax revenue will expire this year. 3 mills will expire next year. We are asking our community to continue this level of support of 4 mills.

Why the change on this year’s ballot?

The current millage is a 3+1 format that requires separate voting periods on 3 mills and 1 mill. To make it simpler for our community, the 4 mills have been combined in the new millage proposal so that only one voting period is needed. The combined 4 mills are considered “new” even though the amount of money is the same as it has been.

We are asking to renew the support our community has provided for many years, which allows us to offer all the valuable benefits listed below.

What will my ballot say?

When you go to vote in person or absentee, your ballot will use the language below. As noted on this webpage, the millage proposal does not include any new money. It replaces the current 3+1 mills with a single 4-mill proposal. It will not change your tax amount at all.

This proposal authorizes the School District of the City of Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan, to levy and allocate to Henry Ford College 4 mills for operating purposes for 8 years. The 4 mills would replace 1 mill previously authorized by the electors which authorization has expired and 3 mills previously authorized by the electors which authorization will expire with the 2024 tax levy.

Shall the limitation on the total amount of taxes which may be imposed on taxable property within the School District of the City of Dearborn, Wayne County, Michigan, be increased by 4 mills ($4.00 per $1,000 of Taxable Valuation) for a period of eight (8) years, the years 2024 through 2031 inclusive, to provide funds for operating purposes of Henry Ford College? The 4 mills represents new millage. It is estimated that the 4 mills would raise $16 million for the School District for operating purposes of Henry Ford College when first levied in 2024.

To summarize: The current millage is expiring, and we are asking that it be replaced by the same amount of money.

The word “increased” and the phrase “the 4 mills represents new millage” are both stated because the current 3+1 mills are expiring, and will be replaced by the new 4 mill proposal. With this millage proposal, there will be no change to the tax amount you pay each year.

Why will the ballot say the millage is “new”?

This millage proposal is a renewal, not an increase. Combining the existing 1 mill and 3 mills together requires the ballot to say that the millage is “new.” But the cost to you, our community, will not change at all. We have not asked for an increase in millage for the past 10 years. If our community passes this renewal millage, we will not ask for an increase for at least 8 more years.

How much will this millage cost me as a taxpayer?

The average taxable value of a home is generally half the actual value of that home.

Average Dearborn homeowner millage cost

According to the City of Dearborn’s Assessor’s Office, the average taxable value of homes in Dearborn (for the most recent year available) is approximately $57,955. Based on this information, a four mill renewal will cost the average homeowner $232 per year, or $19.33 per month, the same amount they are currently paying.

Millage cost formula

You can use this formula to determine your millage cost that is supporting HFC at 4 mills: Your home's taxable value (about half your home's market value) multiplied by .004.

If the millage renewal is approved, how does HFC plan to use the money?

If the voters at the February 27, 2024 election renew the millage, HFC plans to use the continuing funds as follows:

  • $2,000,000 per year toward the removal of outdated buildings on our campus and replacement with the Southeast Michigan Student Success Center, a new state-of-the-art facility focusing on student learning, study, services, and activities as a new “front door” to the College. This project will conclude its use of millage funds in 8 years, after which the millage will be reduced to 3.5 mills rather than 4 mills annually.
  • $800,000 per year toward the Integrated Energy Master Plan (IEMP) project. This project will reduce the College’s energy consumption by up to 60%, reduce water usage by up to 40%, and develop an energy-related curriculum to help HFC students obtain jobs in green energy fields.
  • The establishment of an on-campus mini-campus for our dual-enrolled high school students at what is now the College’s Welcome Center.
  • Classroom investments. This includes the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment that will enable our students to participate in hands-on, interactive learning experiences that simulate the realistic working environments students will find when they graduate.
  • Employment investment, including faculty positions in high-demand programs, enhanced student-support positions dedicated to student success, retention, and completion efforts.
  • Support for the improvement and maintenance of existing buildings and classrooms, including much-needed study and gathering spaces for students and faculty.

What will happen if voters do not approve the millage proposal?

Four mills represents 20% of the annual budget for the College. Without this revenue, the College would experience budget shortfalls that would significantly diminish the plans stated above and would negatively affect staffing, facilities, student support services, and technology advancements across campus.

How HFC impacts our community

HFC's Value to Our Community

  • Dearborn Public School district residents receive a substantial tuition discount (in-district tuition is currently $111 per credit hour versus $194 for a non-resident). Out of Michigan’s 31 community colleges and 14 public universities, Dearborn Public School district residents who attend HFC pay the third-lowest tuition rate in the entire state of Michigan.

  • More than 2,700 high school students from our local area take classes at HFC each year at no cost to their families. These dual-enrolled students succeed at very high rates. These programs put them ahead of their peers in other schools. They can earn both an associate degree and a high school diploma through this fantastic opportunity. Large numbers of them transfer successfully to universities to pursue a bachelor's or advanced degree and a family-sustaining, satisfying career path.

  • Henry Ford College is a community-centered place. We enrich the community with artistic, performance, and athletic events every year, and we invite our community members to participate. We also host dozens of public events throughout the year.

  • Our beautiful campus is a welcoming environment for our community to come and walk, ride bikes, and otherwise enjoy the gift of our environment. Kingfisher Bluff on the west side of our campus provides a beautiful and quiet space. The campus perimeter walkway also offers access to the public Gateway Trail that leads into the woods and crosses the Rouge River. Parking on our campus is always free for those who wish to come and walk or ride.

  • Dearborn Public School district residents who are age 60 or older may take classes at HFC tuition-free.

  • Because HFC purchases goods and services in the Dearborn community and has staff and students who do the same, a 2022 socioeconomic study estimates that this spending generated $1.4 billion in economic activity in the HFC service area during the 2020-2021 fiscal year. This is equivalent to supporting 20,289 jobs.

  • Most HFC alumni remain in the local area to live, work, and participate in our community. HFC alumni are always welcome at the College. We provide free, lifetime Career Services Support for all alumni. Also, our Alumni Association provides opportunities for life enrichment, learning, socializing, and interaction with students.

  • Students invest money and time into their education. In return for their investment, HFC’s students will receive a stream of higher future earnings that will continue to grow throughout their working lives. For every dollar students invest in HFC, they receive a cumulative $5.20 in higher future earnings. The average annual return on HFC investment for students is 17.7%.

  • The average associate degree graduate from HFC will see an increase in earnings of $10,700 each year compared to someone with a high school diploma working in Michigan.

  • Investment in education supports the entire community through reduced crime, lower unemployment, and increased health and wellbeing. For every dollar taxpayers invest in HFC, they receive $5 in local economic activity and reduced demand for government-funded services in Michigan. The average annual return on HFC investment for taxpayers is 10.9%.

Community Resources

Facts about Henry Ford College

About HFC + Our History

  • Back in 1938, knowing that education was an important part of a satisfying career and life, Dearborn Public School district residents decided to establish their own college in their city. These citizens understood the importance of local governance and local control of taxes supporting their own schools. Throughout the 85 years since that time, Henry Ford College has proudly been Dearborn’s college, serving the residents of Dearborn and its surrounding communities. Henry Ford College remains the only city-based community college in the state.

  • HFC offers more than 150 fully accredited, high-quality academic programs, from workforce training and trades to business, health care, STEM, liberal arts, culinary, and more. HFC graduates often go directly to high-paying jobs, or they take advantage of many seamless transfer options (some universities even guarantee transferability) for bachelor’s degrees at universities locally and across the nation.

  • Our students and alumni succeed at high rates. You will find HFC students in academic competitions, doing research, conducting professional conference presentations, programming robots, creating fantastic art and writings, publishing a weekly newspaper, and learning about every field of endeavor. You will find our alumni across all disciplines and specialities -- and you will find them actively engaging in making our local communities wonderful places to live, work, and recreate.

  • HFC is a public college and a public campus. We offer cultural opportunities and resources for the public, including concerts, live theatre, art shows, dance performances, athletic competitions, academic competitions, cultural activities, and other events year-round.

  • HFC’s English Language Institute offers instruction in American English, language, and culture. This intensive program prepares students for success in college-level English courses and employment that requires written and oral proficiency in English.

  • On average, about 36% of college-bound graduates of the Dearborn Public School district attend HFC.

More About HFC

Exercise your right to vote!

On February 27, 2024, the polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.
You also have the option of voting through an absentee ballot, or voting early in person, as noted below.

Even if you do not want to vote for any candidates who are running in this election, please exercise your right to vote on the future of our community college’s funding.

Voting dates and locations


  • Absentee Ballots will be mailed and will be available at the Clerk’s Office January 18.
  • Early Voting will begin on Saturday, February 17 until Sunday, February 25 at the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center.
  • Election-Day in-person voting will be Tuesday, February 27.

Dearborn Heights:

  • Absentee Ballots will be mailed and will be available at the Clerk’s Office January 18.
  • Early Voting will begin Saturday, February 17 until Sunday, February 25 at the Canfield Community Center, 1801 N. Beech Daly.
  • Election-Day in-person voting will be Tuesday, February 27.