higher education

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Several Michigan colleges and universities took part in a White House conference on math and science education this past week. 

The college initiative summit focused on better preparing students to succeed in college.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Schoolchildren and others will be impacted when Michigan's next state budget starts in about three months.

Gov. Rick Snyder plans to finish signing the $53.2 billion spending plan as early as Monday. It affects many corners of Michigan life - from how much it costs to attend college to increased arts funding and how many state troopers patrol the highways.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Students at two of Michigan’s largest universities will be paying more in the fall.

The University of Michigan’s Board of Regents increased in-state undergraduate costs by 2.6% yesterday.

For out-of-state students, the increases will be higher: According to The Michigan Daily, out-of-state undergraduates will see their cost of attendance rise by 3.4%.

That brings the total cost of in-state attendance to $13,158. For out-of-state students, cost of attendance will be around $41,578.

Michigan State University followed suit today, increasing its in-state costs by 2.6% for in-state underclassmen, and 2.9% for in-state juniors and seniors.

The state’s budget increased its funding for higher education this year by 5.9%.

For the University of Michigan and its three campuses — Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn — that translates to $295 million coming from Lansing. That’s an increase of $18.5 million.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP) - Gov. Rick Snyder has appointed House Speaker Jase Bolger's father to serve on the Western Michigan University Board of Trustees.

James Bolger is a retired Michigan State Police official who lives in Whitehall. The Kalamazoo Gazette says he'll fill the seat vacated when Trustee Michelle Crumm resigned.

Bolger will complete Crumm's eight-year term, which ends on Dec. 31, 2020.

Bolger earned a master's degree in public administration from Western Michigan.

User: Ken Colwell / flickr

Are the liberal arts becoming too politicized? Are politics – and political ideology – taking too strong a hold on higher education?

A growing number of academics worry that the answer may be "yes."

With that in mind, there's a three-day summit coming up at Grand Valley State University. It's billed as "A Meeting of Minds, Left and Right," exploring these questions.

We were joined today by Gleaves Whitney. He's the director of the Hauenstein Center for Presidential Studies at Grand Valley State University.

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.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Thousands of new Michigan college graduates entered the workforce in the past month.

Many can relate to the findings of a new poll on student loans.

A new poll by a credit counseling group shows people with student loans believe by a two to one margin that borrowing money to pay for college was a good investment. But most people in that same poll would not recommend taking out a student loan now.

Older people were more pessimistic than younger college grads.

There was a time when it wasn’t unusual for university presidents to stay in their jobs for twenty years or more. These days, however, that seldom happens. The average college or university president lasts barely seven years.

It actually may be a wonder that any last that long, given the intensity of issues from rising costs to affirmative action to athletics. Not to mention that everything happens these days in the pressure cooker and under the microscope of the 24-hour news cycle.

Two of Michigan’s three major universities have new presidents; Wayne State’s Roy Wilson has been on the job less than a year. The University of Michigan’s Mark Schlissel takes office this summer. But in January, Lou Anna Simon will celebrate ten years as president of Michigan State University.

In fact, to say she’s been on the job for a decade severely understates her involvement with the institution. She’s been there ever since she arrived as a graduate student in 1970.

Since then, she has held a wide variety of academic and administrative jobs, which is not to say she is set in her ways. I had a chance to have a long conversation with her this week.

She told me tradition is important, but added, “If you don’t have leadership committed to change, but only to defending the status quo, you have the wrong leadership.”

Michigan State is often referred to as the nation’s pioneer land grant university, and that is more than a piece of historical trivia. The school was founded with the idea that it would study and seek out knowledge and find a way of making it practical and relevant for the people of Michigan. They still take that mission seriously.

Editors of the New Republic saw this tweet from NYU professor and Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer:

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.

You’ve heard it before, folks, time and time again. In today's economy, the more education one attains after high school, the better, right? But what if some students might be better served in other settings, academic or otherwise? Is it time for Michigan to develop some credible alternatives for high school grads? We’ll find out more on today’s show.

Then, we spoke to Daniel Howes about his reporting on Detroit's historic bankruptcy. 

And, Fifth Third Ballpark wants to expand its concessions menu. We took a look at some of the food options fans can vote for, including deep-fried lasagna and a bacon-and-chocolate taco.

Also, how can we keep young entrepreneurs fresh out of college in Michigan? The Michigan Collegiate Innovation Prize awards them for launching their start-ups in state.

And, a new fee system for hunting and fishing goes into effect soon, and it’s the first significant raise in over 15 years. We spoke with Ed Golder of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources about what’s behind this increase.

First on the show, Detroit Mayor Michael Duggan delivered his first State of the City speech last night before a packed, invitation-only crowd. And his message was clear: We are going to change what it means to live in Detroit.

Even among those who have a "wait-and-see" attitude, the mayor's speech is being praised for what many believe is a refreshing attention to detail and the sense that a team is at work.

Detroit Free Press columnist Nancy Kaffer joined us today.

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.

Kate Wells / Michigan Radio

The University of Michigan has a race problem.

“Open it up! Or we’ll shut it down!” chanted half a dozen black students at the Board of Regents meeting yesterday.

Their frustrations are getting national attention. 

The Black Student union has led protests on campus and online.

Their #BBUM Twitter campaign (Being Black at U of M) has gone viral. 

They’re fed up, they say, by a school that boasts about a diverse community, yet where just roughly 5% of some 28,000 undergraduate students are black.

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

Michigan’s public universities are “building the case” for more state aid.

The group representing the state’s 15 public universities released a report today showing the economic impact they have on Michigan. The study, by the Anderson Economic Group, claims the universities generated nearly $24 billion in direct and indirect spending in Michigan in 2012. 

The researchers say the money is spent across Michigan and not just in the towns where the universities are based.

The Washington Post

This map shows you how wealthy your ZIP code is.

The Washington Post created it using data from the 2010 Census. Only zip codes that have at least 500 adults were included in the map (so some ZIP codes in the U.P. were not counted).

The ZIP codes are ranked from 0-99.

The higher the number, the higher the average household income and the higher the percentage of adults who have college degrees.

Morgue File

In-state tuition and fees at Michigan's four-year public colleges and universities rank sixth highest nationally, with a Michigan average of $11,600 per year.

But state support for higher education per full-time student in Michigan ranks fifth from the bottom. State support per student is $3,962 in Michigan compared to the national average of $6,646.

That's according to data recently released by the College Board in a report on "Trends in College Pricing 2013."

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Colleges and universities in Michigan have been grappling with ways to fill the revenue hole after the state Legislature cut funding for higher education. 

But now there's another problem -- fewer students. 

Brian Prescott is the director of Policy Research at the Western Interstate Commission on Higher Education. The Commission recently released a major report called "Knocking at the College Door," which found that Michigan was second only to California in the decreasing number of high school graduates. 

Prescott said that's because the children of baby boomers have graduated high school, so future graduating classes are becoming smaller. 

House Democrats / Michigan.gov

Many Michigan students would pay little to no money for in-state college tuition under a proposal in Lansing. State Representative Vicki Barnett (D-Farmington Hills) wants to raise the state’s sales tax by one percent to pay for the plan.

Barnett talked about the proposal on the Michigan Public Television program “Off the Record.”

“People are recognizing that we need to find a way to make sure that all of our kids who graduate high school who want to go on and get a higher educational degree have the opportunity to do so without having the weight and burden of student loans carrying them down,” Barnett said.

Besides helping students gain access to higher education, she says it would also help attract employers.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan State University students should prepare to pay more tuition this fall.

The M-U Board of Trustees will vote on a tuition hike this morning. 

The proposed tuition hike averages out to about 2.8%.

MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon defends the tuition increase.

“In terms of planning for families, we’ve tried to be as transparent as possible,” says Simon, “And we actually have a lower number than we planned.”

The tuition rate increase will not be uniform across the board.

Let's turn our attentions to college students, or, more specifically, college graduates.

There has been much talk and hand-wringing about the so-called "brain drain," young people earning a degree at a Michigan college or university and then hitting the road. Heading out of Michigan and taking their talents to places like LA, Chicago, Boston, or New York.

Is that "brain drain" the fault of Michigan's depressed-and-slowly-recovering economy? Or might it just be the age-old truth that young people want to spread their wings?

Writer John Schneider mused upon these questions in a column in this week's Bridge Magazine. It's title "Children's departure is part of the cycle of life."

He joins us today to discuss the issue.

Listen to the full interview above.

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.

via wayne.edu

  The Wayne State University Board of Governors unanimously approved Dr. M. Roy Wilson as the school’s next President Wednesday.

Wilson is currently a deputy director at the National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities. An ophthalmologist by training, he comes from a background in medical research that spans government and academia.

“I sense great things moving forward,” Wilson said about Wayne State, calling it a “public institution…with a noble vision.”

User: Brother O'Mara / Flickr

Legislation in Michigan House could cap FOIA fees

There is new legislation up for initial hearing this week in Lansing. It is a response to local governments and state agencies charging hefty fees for people to see government records.

"One of the bills would limit most charges for requests filed under the state’s Freedom of Information Act to no more than 10 cents a page. Another would create a Michigan Open Government Commission to hear challenges to government denials of information requests," Michigan Radio's Rick Pluta reports.

Lansing City Council vs. Mayor Virg Bernero

The Lansing city council will vote tonight on a budget for next year. Michigan Radio's Steve Carmody reports that "the vote will likely put the council at odds with Mayor Virg Bernero." 

The mayor wants to add annual fees for city water and electricity customers. Conversely, the council wants to make several spending cuts including eliminating several new positions the mayor wants to add to the city's payroll. Mayor Virg Bernero will have until Thursday to veto parts of the city budget he doesn’t like. The Lansing city council has until early June to try to override the mayor’s expected vetoes.

Higher education opportunities piloted in Michigan prisons

"After years without funding for prisoners to access higher education, the Michigan Department of Corrections is immersed in several efforts to teach community college courses and vocational training in-house to a small number of inmates who are near parole. Michigan will join a pilot project that hopes to gather enough evidence to possibly resurrect publicly supported postsecondary education in prisons nationally," reports The Detroit News.

Michigan House Democrats

 As new grads drift out of Ann Arbor after last weekend's commencement, where will they go?

Degrees in hand, they're on the job search - which doesn't mean they're staying in Michigan.

State Representative Andy Schor, D-Lansing, is the sponsor of House Bill 4182, which would provide tax credits to college graduates of public or private four-year colleges and universities in Michigan.

Jennifer Guerra / Michigan Radio

Education is front and center these days in Michigan.

Governor Snyder spoke today to a summit of education leaders, calling for businesses to get more closely involved with public education.

Snyder believes many students might be being pushed toward getting a four-year college degree when vocation education – technical career training or community college – might make just as much sense for them.

In the state House and Senate, there is movement towards changing Michigan’s high school graduation requirements.

photo of Students in class at Waterford Mott High School.
courtesy: Mott High School

Students who attend a public Kalamazoo high school for their entire high school career and live in the district during those four years have the opportunity to attend a Michigan college or University for free.

This, of course, is old news.

The Kalamazoo Promise was announced in November 2005 and has since proven to be one of the most groundbreaking educational programs in the state.

Students at computers
User: Extra Ketchup / creative commons

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

The state of Michigan is quickly becoming a leader in online education with the support of Governor Snyder.

K-12 schools, colleges and universities throughout the state are realizing the potential online learning offers to students. 

A recent education study conducted by The Center for Michigan found that residents are less enthusiastic about online learning. 

As a new form of education, there are still unanswered questions about the advantages and disadvantages of online learning for students.

Michigan Virtual University, founded in the late 1990's by the State of Michigan is now one of the largest virtual schools in the country. 

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with Jamey Fitzpatrick, the President and CEO of Michigan Virtual University.

University of Michigan

The following is a summary of a previously recorded interview. To hear the complete segment, click the audio above.

As funding for higher education experiences drastic cuts, tuition continues to increase nationwide. 

Now, colleges and universities are looking at how they have contributed to the economic situation facing institutions of higher education. 

Michigan Radio's Cynthia Canty spoke with James Duderstadt concerning the economic climate among institutions of higher education.

James Duderstadt,a former president of the University of Michigan, is an important voice in the national conversation among higher education institutions. Mr. Duderstadt currently serves on the National Academies Commission on the Future of the American Research University.

Governor Snyder’s budget includes a two percent increase for higher ed. That’s close to the current inflation rate, which means, essentially, no extra money for state colleges and universities.

Now, you can argue that times are still tough and everyone has to watch spending. But in fact, higher education has been hit harder than any other major budget category since Rick Snyder became governor two years ago. Over that time, the state has cut support for higher ed by more than 11 percent.

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