Governor Snyder’s budget includes a two percent increase for higher ed. That’s close to the current inflation rate, which means, essentially, no extra money for state colleges and universities.
Now, you can argue that times are still tough and everyone has to watch spending. But in fact, higher education has been hit harder than any other major budget category since Rick Snyder became governor two years ago. Over that time, the state has cut support for higher ed by more than 11 percent.
Colleges and universities didn’t fare very well under former Governor Jennifer Granholm either. Cynics might say that’s because a minority of voters have college degrees in this state, which makes it politically easier to cut. In this case, the cynics are largely right.
What makes this tragic, however, is that Michigan adults are undereducated, compared to those in surrounding states. That’s largely because for many years, we had a muscle-based economy. Thanks to the automotive sector, and the United Auto Workers union, you could get a good-paying job on an assembly line with no more, and sometimes less, than a high school education.