Higher Education in Michigan Hurt by Funding Cuts

Higher Education in Michigan Hurt by Funding Cuts
Higher Education in Michigan Hurt by Funding Cuts

August 10, 2010
The Detroit News

by Kim Kozlowski


Michigan's declining investment in higher education is among the worst in the nation -- making it difficult for students to get degrees and the state to recover from the poor economy, according to a report released Monday.


The first report of its kind by the Michigan League for Human Services found state aid and financial aid programs to Michigan's 15 public universities declined by nearly 17 percent from 2002 to 2010. Meanwhile, undergraduate tuition for in-state residents during that same time period jumped 88 percent.

Funding for the state's 28 community colleges, meanwhile, decreased 7 percent between 2002 and 2010 as tuition increased 40 percent -- from an average of $54 to $76 a credit hour, the report showed.

The trends occurred as Michigan's job market is moving away from manufacturing to a knowledge-based sector, and must be reversed, officials said.


"The actions that the Legislature takes are directly counter to what every study says about the need to have a better educated work force in Michigan, or we will continue to fall behind other states, and that's not going to turn Michigan's economy around," said Sharon Parks, president and CEO of Michigan League for Human Services, a Lansing-based nonprofit. "It is directly counter to what we know as a state we need to be doing, and that is growing a more highly educated work force."


The report also showed that Michigan had the fifth-lowest investment in higher education and the seventh-highest tuition increases, when compared to the rest of the nation.


"This is another example of the challenges awaiting the new governor," said John Bebow, executive director of the Center for Michigan, an Ann Arbor-based think tank.


"Michigan is one of a handful of states that spends more on prisons than higher education. That's not a sustainable future," he said.


The state's budget for higher education funding has yet to be passed. The House has passed a budget that maintains university spending levels while the Senate version decreases funding by 3.1 percent.


kkozlowski@detnews.com (313) 222-2024

From The Detroit News: http://detnews.com/article/20100810/SCHOOLS/8100354/Report--Higher-education-in-Michigan-hurt-by-funding-cuts#ixzz0wEh7joTD