Bad for MI: higher ed less affordable

Added May 1st, 2014 by Karen Holcomb-Merrill | Email This Entry Email This Entry
Karen Holcomb-Merrill

Those of us moving our college students home for the summer this week probably are not surprised by a new national report showing that Michigan has made deep cuts in funding for colleges and universities, leading to steep increases in tuition.

Compared with other states, I’m afraid Michigan doesn’t look so good. Policymakers in Michigan cut per-student state spending more than 37 other states from 2008 to 2014—a 28% cut in state support. Michigan’s average tuition increase of over $2,000 (a 21% increase) during that time is higher than 34 other states.

Lower state support for our colleges and universities and higher tuition costs are making a college education less affordable and less accessible for many in our state.

Not only is this bad news for students and their families trying to afford a college education, but it is also bad news for Michigan’s economy. We need a well-educated workforce to fill the jobs of a growing economy.  A growing number of these jobs require a college education.

The report shows that as states have recovered from the recession and more revenues have become available, states have begun to increase their support for colleges and universities in the last year. While it’s good news that Michigan increased per-student spending by $190 over the last year, the state still lagged behind 32 other states.

Reinvestment in our colleges and universities needs to be a priority. Yet another reason to reject proposals to reduce our income tax rate, further reducing revenues available to fund education.

— Karen Holcomb-Merrill



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