The Saginaw News reports that as state support has dropped over the last 30 years, Michigan’s 15 public universities have compensated by raising tuition, fees and room and board, adding $3,000 each semester in tuition in the last decade alone. As need rises, so has student debt:
The average university student will leave college owing $20,000 to $24,000 in loans.
Over the past 10 years, the number of Michigan State University students applying for aid has gone up 23 percent, said Val Meyers, associate director of financial aid. “People who used to be able to pay themselves and didn’t bother to apply are now applying because they need some help,” she said, given rising costs and the struggling economy.
…At the same time, state scholarships and grants have been reduced. The Legislature ended the $4,000 Michigan Promise scholarship in 2009, and the Michigan Competitive Scholarship decreased its funding, Meyers said.
Tough times have forced those in Lansing to cut and cut again, and while higher education is 3rd in terms of general fund dollars:
Lou Glazer, president of the Ann Arbor-based think tank Michigan Future, notes Michigan ranks 49th in the nation in per-pupil spending for higher education.
“It’s a big mistake,” Glazer said. “Disinvesting in universities is not smart.”
Of the 15 states that have the highest college attainment rates, 13 have the highest incomes, he said.
This is an extremely interesting read about a critical issue to Michigan’s future - read more.