While we consider Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget message, we might want to look at some facts underlying our economy.
— The (persistently) bad news: Since 2008, Lansing has slashed support for public colleges and universities by 21.5 percent.
— The (sort-of) good news: We aren’t the worst. In fact, we rank only 11th among states in cutting support for higher education. The top cutters in order were Arizona (down 36.6 percent), New Hampshire (down 35.7 percent) and Louisiana (down 31.2 percent.)
For some years, I thought Michigan topped the list of the states cutting support for universities; it’s nice to know we’re only 11th.
Not that this will do much to cheer up Michigan families who have had to pay sharply increased college tuition and incurred skyrocketing student debt, thanks to reduced state appropriations.
This is a nationwide trend — one that makes little sense at a time when education is more important than ever. On average, states are spending 10.8 percent less on higher education than they were five years ago, when the so-called “Great Recession” began.