college

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A Michigan congressman is proposing legislation to help people struggling with student loan debt.

U.S. Rep. Dan Kildee’s package of bills includes a proposal to make it easier for people filing for bankruptcy to include their student loan debt.

“Only under rare circumstances can student debt be discharged in a bankruptcy. So ... it creates a disincentives for people to try to go to college,” says Kildee.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

This Week in Michigan Politics, Michigan Radio’s senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry and Morning Edition host Christina Shockley discuss the first female mayor of Grand Rapids, this week's elections,  accusations of racism against Gov. Snyder and Detroit emergency managers, the number of college degrees among Michigan lawmakers.


Rebecca Kruth

First Lady Michelle Obama spoke to more than 2,000 Detroit students as part of the city's first College Signing Day.

Students from more than 40 Detroit high schools came to hear Obama speak about the importance of committing to higher education.

"In fact, we should all be as excited about college signing day as we are about the Super Bowl, the World Series, and the Playoffs," she said.

www.brookings.edu

Paying for college – it’s a challenge for many households.

Seventy percent of the college grads this year took out student loans, and the average college grad this year is paying back student loans of around $33,000.

While these numbers may seem daunting, advancements in technological and business models may help lower cost of college over time.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - There are many bumps in the road to social and economic mobility in the U.S., and 11 large research universities are taking steps to level one of them.

Michigan State University and 10 other schools have launched a program they say seeks to boost the graduation rates for students from low-income families or from groups that are historically underrepresented among college graduates.

Last week, the University Innovation Alliance announced it's raised $5.7 million from six major funders.

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As college students explore their campuses, they're likely to find a wide array of student groups that pertain to race: The Black Student Union, Asian-American groups, or Hispanic and Latino groups.

Universities say they're spending time and money on trying to increase the number of minority students, especially since the Supreme Court ban in 2006 on affirmative action.

But Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution says the challenges for American colleges should be not only racial diversity, but also economic diversity. 

Especially when universities, including elite schools, haven't upped their percentage of low-come students in generation. 

Haskins says that's what happens when colleges maintain admission standards.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Kalamazoo Promise is expanding to include more than a dozen private colleges in Michigan.

The Promise provides scholarship money for Kalamazoo public school students to attend college. Until now, the Promise has made it possible for students to afford only public colleges and universities. 

But today, the Promise’s Janice Brown announced 15 schools, including Detroit Mercy, Hillsdale College, Hope College and Adrian College, will start matching Promise scholarships beginning in the fall of 2015.

Tulane Public Relations / Creative Commons

More parents and grandparents are setting up savings accounts to cover college expenses for the next generation, according to a national report released today.

Jeff Wilcox / Flickr

A pair of bills in the Michigan House and Senate are setting their sights on getting rid of tuition bills.  

Rather than paying off installments on a loan package, the proposed legislation would allow students to pay off school with a fixed percent of their future incomes — as long as their income is above the federal poverty line.

A $2 million pilot program would be established to fund 200 students at community colleges and public four-year universities.

From David Jesse of the Detroit Free Press:

So a student who went to the University of Michigan and graduated in four years would have to pay 4 percent of his or her income back every year for 20 years.

The so-called “pay-it-forward” bills have gained some legislative popularity after Oregon launched a study last July to examine the feasibility of such a proposal.

Michigan joins Oregon, Florida, Washington, and some 20 other states considering the "go now, pay later" plan.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

This is the time of year when many high school juniors are taking their ACTs and scheduling campus tours. And high school seniors are looking in the mailbox for college acceptance letters and – hopefully –financial aid packages.

There are many in Michigan who believe that heading to college is the key to a successful life for these kids. There's plenty of evidence that young adults with that four-year degree will do better in terms of employment and wages than their peers with some college, or a two-year degree, or only a high school diploma.

But there is another side to the discussion – the one that raises the question: Is college truly the right choice for all high school grads? Are we overlooking the opportunities offered by skilled trades and other careers that do not require a degree?

Glenda Price is the former president of Marygrove College in Detroit and is now the president of the Detroit Public Schools Foundation. And Lou Glazer is the president of Michigan Future, Inc. They both joined us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The rising cost of college textbooks is leading more students to opt out of purchasing them altogether.

A new report suggests many students are missing out on some educational opportunities by not buying textbooks.

Ethan Senack is a higher education associate with the Public Interest Research Group, which wrote the report.

He says the good news is that students are ready for alternatives to the traditional textbook model.

Yesterday, I talked about the challenges the University of Michigan’s new president faces. One of those is, of course, the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford an education.

That provoked a lot of reaction, and I was surprised by the tone of a lot of it.

Specifically, many people feel that especially with the lagging economy, it makes no sense for students to study things that won’t clearly pay off in a job.

"There's nothing wrong with art appreciation. There are plenty of books, DVDs and YouTube clips out there," one man said. But he thought it was outrageous that someone would spend a vast amount of money on something "that will turn out to be a nice hobby," and then "complain about the lack of job opportunities."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

A new report shows Michigan college students are carrying a lot of student loan debt.

The Institute for College Access and Success says Michigan college graduates who earned bachelor’s degrees in 2012 owed nearly $29,000 in student loans.

Debbie Cochran is with the institute. She blames the recession and declining government support for forcing students to borrow more to pay for college.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Are Michigan colleges and universities so focused outward that they have become "placeless"? Are families being needlessly fractured by a growing emphasis on global engagement, and a move away from local involvement and commitment?

Jeffrey Polet, a professor of political science at Hope College in Holland thinks so. In a column for Bridge Magazine Polet argues that Michigan’s “hallowed halls may lead to the world, but they also contribute to the fracturing of communities.”

Polet talks to us about what he’s seen that caused him to write his piece, and where his criticism lies.

Listen to the full interview above.

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What does the future hold for public universities?

A recent report from Moody's suggests the future is very uncertain for public universities: enrollment is flat, revenue is stagnant, and expenses grew nearly twice as fast as inflation.

Are public colleges on a "path to economic oblivion," as the Chronicle of Higher Education puts it? And how are Michigan's public colleges and universities faring?

Dan Hurley grew up and was educated in Michigan. Today he is with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he's the Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis. He joined us today from Washington.

Listen to the full interview above.

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Michigan and the shutdown

"As the federal government shutdown heads into day three, half a dozen national nature preserves in Michigan are now closed. Michigan is in the process of identifying thousands of state employees whose jobs are paid for with federal funds. State budget officials say they will have to be laid off if the federal shutdown lasts for more than two weeks. Food and cash assistance programs could also run out of money," Rick Pluta reports.

College grads that stay in Michigan could get a tax break

"College graduates who choose to stay in Michigan would get a tax break under a bill in the state Senate. The plan would affect students who earn a four-year degree from a Michigan college or university. They could get up to half of what they pay in student loans back when they file their yearly income taxes," Jake Neher reports.

Federal money at risk if Common Core is not funded in Michigan

"State education officials say more than a billion dollars of federal school funding is at risk as the state Senate debates a set of nationwide school standards. The state budget that took effect this week bars the Michigan Department of Education from spending any money to implement the Common Core standards," Jake Neher reports.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Get out the laundry carts: students are returning to college dorms.

More than 7,000 freshmen at Michigan State University begin moving in Sunday while other students check in Monday. Classes start Wednesday in East Lansing.

In Marquette, classes start Monday at Northern Michigan University. Wayne State University in Detroit is welcoming freshmen on Saturday, with sophomore, juniors and seniors following on Sunday.

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College students in Michigan got some unwelcome news over the past week: tuition is going up at many universities and colleges, and interest rates on some of their loans will double.

This one-two punch of soaring costs and rising debt is being felt in many homes around Michigan.

There are more than 300,000 students in Michigan with federal loans. And the number of people taking out student loans and the amount they borrow continues to climb.

We wanted to get behind these headlines and look at just what this means to a typical college student in our state.

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You’ll have to pay an additional $900 a year to be a Wayne State student next school year.

The university is raising tuition by 8.9%.

That’s especially tough on a student body that’s almost entirely from in-state.

And it’s a dramatic move for the school.

This year, every other public university in Michigan is playing along with a state deal: schools get access to an extra pool of state money, if they cap tuition hikes at 3.75%.

But that incentive isn’t enough to make up for deeper cuts from the state.   

user dig downtown detroit / Flickr

We've heard about the tuition increases for other public universities in Michigan.

Tomorrow, the board of regents for Wayne State University will vote on that school's increase.

David Jesse over at the Detroit Free Press reports it could be a big one:

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

The state of Michigan is facing a potential class action lawsuit over a student loan program.

Beginning in 2003, the Michigan Students First loan program offered college students an interest rate subsidy after their first 36 on-time loan payments, effectively reducing their interest rate to zero.

But in 2010, the subsidy was ended.

Attorney Jeff Hank says that left thousands of Michigan college students having to pay more in student loans than they had originally planned.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - New legislation would give college graduates an income tax credit for their student loans if they stay in Michigan after graduation.

The credit would be equal to half the amount paid on qualified student loans in a tax year but couldn't exceed 20 percent of the average annual tuition at Michigan's public universities. To be eligible, students would have to be a state resident, a graduate of a Michigan university and have earned a bachelor's degree.

Democratic Senator Glenn Anderson of Westland says his bill introduced last week gives graduates an incentive to stay in Michigan and helps address the "brain drain" of grads leaving the state. His legislation is backed by Democrats along with a couple Republicans in the GOP-led Senate.

Lindsey Smith / Michigan Radio

Juniors and seniors at Rockford High School will be able to earn up to 30 credit hours at Ferris State University for free in a pilot program announced today.

Say you’re taking calculus at Rockford High School, when you get to college, you could test out of calculus but you wouldn't get any credits.

The pilot program differs from dual enrollment programs.

If a student passes a single calculus class, it will count toward both their high school diploma and their college degree.

Jake Neher / MPRN

Small business owners want Michigan to make its curriculum standards for high school students more flexible.

The state passed broad standards in 2006 for all students. They are supposed to ensure all students are ready for college.

The Michigan Merit Curriculum requires four years of math and English language arts; three years of science and social studies; and two years of a foreign language. Complete standards are outlined here.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DEARBORN, Mich. (AP) - Michigan colleges are stuck with a bill worth millions of dollars when students with federal grants drop out but keep the cash.

The Detroit Free Press says Henry Ford Community College in Dearborn likely will raise tuition, partly to repay $4.1 million to the federal government. Spokesman Gary Erwin says two-year colleges have been hit "particularly hard."

Wikimedia Commons

Universities across the country are opening up campus housing to transgender students and it's happening right here in Michigan.

The University of Michigan housing has announced it will set aside a block of gender neutral rooms for transgender and gender non-conforming students in the fall of 2013, as a part of the gender inclusive living experience.

We speak with Amy Navvab, a student at the University of Michigan and Chair of the Open Housing Initiative, and Amanda Hobson, Residential Coordinator at Ohio University where gender neutral housing is already available to students.

Listen to the interview above.

Dartmouth College

It was announced yesterday that University of Michigan provost Phil Hanlon will become the next president of Dartmouth College starting July 1, 2013.

Hanlon, 57, is a graduate of Dartmouth and will become the college's 18th president.

In a New York Times piece, Hanlon indicated that university funding, in its current form, is reaching a breaking point:

Dr. Hanlon, who will be the 10th Dartmouth graduate to become its president, said he expected to focus closely on the college’s cost structure and finances. “The historic funding model for higher ed is close to unsustainable,” he said. “We can’t continue superinflationary tuition increases.”

Stateside: Paying off a degree of debt

Nov 27, 2012
Western Michigan University's Main Campus
user TheKuLeR / Wikimedia Commons

Graduating from college brings with it many things -  four years of academic achievement, a degree, and for some... substantial financial debt.

Continuing our student debt conversation we spoke today with Detroit Free Press financial columnist Susan Tompor. Pam Fowler, Executive Director of Financial Aid at the University of Michigan, also joing us.

According to Tompor, one of the primary reasons students fall so deeply into debt is their failure to record the money they borrow.

Natalie Kolb / Image used with permission of The State News

Update: September 27, 2012 1:15 pm 

The Ingham county prosecutor won't press any charges in the alleged assault and hate crime involving MSU student Zachary Tennen - and Tennen's family supports that call.

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — No charges will be brought following an investigation into an assault on a Michigan State University student who claimed he was punched and had his jaw broken because he's Jewish, a prosecutor said Thursday.

Photo courtesy of Jackie Ladwein

This next story is about an epic friendship between a white, 76-year-old Grand Rapids teacher, and the driven Liberian boy she inspired 50 years ago when she was a young Peace Corps volunteer.

Their bond has survived hunger, poverty, and a brutal civil war. And it’s created ripples across Liberia, leading to the country’s first school for social workers . Now, it’s reuniting both friends back here in Michigan.

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