Study: Tuition rates in Michigan among the highest in the nation

Posted at 10:39 AM, Sep 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-06 10:39:43-04

A new report finds tuition at public universities in Michigan is among the highest in the nation. The study released by the Michigan League for Public Policy today shows tuition has more than doubled at most of the state's 15 public universities by 100 to 150% since 2003.

The average tuition for in-state students is more than $11,000, the sixth highest tuition in the country.

The Back To School report finds between 2003 and 2016-2017, Michigan cut university funding by more than $262 million, a 30% decrease in public support after adjusting for inflation. State funding for need-based financial aid per full-time equivalent student has declined by 55% since 1992 when adjusted for inflation. With less financial aid, many students are forced to take on more debt, some families cannot afford college at all.

Michigan also has the ninth highest average student debt level in the nation with 62% of students in the class of 2014 graduating with student loan debt averaging $29,450-$10,000 more than students in some other states. The numbers are much worse for African-American students. The report finds those students and their families have an average student loan debt of more than $43,000 upon graduation. Latino parents and grandparents take on most of the student debt for their children and grandchildren.

President and CEO of the Michigan League for Public Policy Gilda Z. Jacobs says "As the college semester gets underway, too many students and families have had to take on a mountain of debt to get there or are being priced out of a higher education altogether." Jacobs also adds "Once again, Michigan is a national leader in a negative category-and one that runs counter to the political rhetoric of attracting and keeping talent."

The group is advising Michigan lawmakers make the following changes:

- Restore state budget funding that has been cut from public universities and community colleges

-Offer financial aid to students who are in short-term programs or in school less than half-time

-Offer policies for low-income students to allow them to receive food assistance, cash assistance and/or subsidized child care

-Make need-based financial aid grants available to older workers