Our Voice: State Commission's Goal Should Be Affordable Higher Education For Michiganders (Opinion)

Ann McClure's picture
Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The state of Michigan and its public universities are cheating the public — the owners of higher education and government — out of an affordable education.

While state officials and university leaders each point blame at the other for soaring tuition costs, they are equally at fault.

State officials have de-funded support for higher education. A quarter-century ago, Michigan paid 60 percent of the cost of higher education. Now, it pays for just 22 percent. Michigan pays more to run its prisons than it does to better its students; more for the Medicaid for the unemployed and retired than for the college skills that can put people into good jobs.

Colleges have for the most part ignored the deep payroll spending cuts used to balance budgets in the world around them. Instead, for the most part they have raised tuition and fees to make up for lost state aid. And they have continued surreal building sprees gobbling up millions upon millions of dollars.

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