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Michigan cuts to higher education among the worst in country

 

Karen Carter Richards, Jake Oliver, James Washington, Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah-Jiles

Karen Carter Richards, Jake Oliver, James Washington, Sonceria “Sonny” Messiah-Jiles

Submitted by the Michigan League of Public Policy

LANSING — Michigan has cut investment in its public universities by 32 percent since 2008, driving up tuition and undermining educational quality, while making it harder for the state to attract businesses that rely on a well-educated workforce.

That’s a decrease of $1,817 per student, when adjusted for inflation, according to a new report from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities. Michigan is just one of 18 states to make such deep cuts.

The immediate consequences of this are clear: The average tuition at a public, four-year college in Michigan has increased by 19.5 percent since the start of the recession.

“We hear it over and over, especially from business leaders, that we need a well-educated workforce,” said Gilda Z. Jacobs, president and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “Yet, Michigan has disinvested in this area, making it harder for many young people to go to college. Obviously, we need to find a better approach to creating a thriving economy.”

When the recession hit in 2008 and tax revenue dropped, most states relied heavily on spending cuts rather than a more balanced mixed of spending cuts and revenue increases. As a result, many states slashed funding for higher education. The price of attending a public college or university has grown significantly faster than the growth in median income in the U.S. over the last 20 years.

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