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higher education

stack of dollar bills
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Battle Creek mom Lori Truex didn't have the money to pay her daughter's Michigan State University tuition.

But she didn't let that stop her. Truex decided to stand on the side of a street asking for donations. Seventy nine days later, she was able to end her panhandling campaign, which she called "One Mom, One Year."

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Many states across the country cut funding for public higher education during the Great Recession. A new report shows the money hasn’t been replaced in most states – including in Michigan.

A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report looks at how states have slashed funding for public universities over the last decade. Michigan ranks in the middle. However, experts say that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Some students at the University of Michigan could qualify for free tuition starting next January. That's because of a new program called the "Go Blue Guarantee."

The University's regents passed the program at a board meeting today.

In-state students whose families make less than $65,000 a year will qualify for the incentive. The University says the move is part of an effort to be more accessible to low-income students.

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Michigan's 15 public universities would get an overall 2 percent boost in state funding under legislation ironed out by lawmakers.

A Republican-led conference committee voted 5-1 for the $1.6 billion higher education budget bill Tuesday, with one Democrat in opposition. Schools' funding increases would range from 1.5 percent to 2.7 percent. Five universities' state aid would remain below levels from seven years ago.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

 

One of the big topics during this week's Mackinac Policy Conference is higher education: how to help schools turn out the workforce that Michigan's businesses need, while also tackling funding challenges.

University of Michigan President Mark Schlissel is attending the Mackinac Policy Conference. The University Research Corridor  – consisting of Michigan, Michigan State and Wayne State – recently released its latest report on contributions those schools make to Michigan in the areas of life, medical and health sciences.

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The Great Recession meant a big hit in state funding for colleges and universities. But even as the country has moved past those dire years, higher education funding is still below where it was before the recession.

How are colleges and universities making up those lost dollars?

A brand-new report from the American Association of University Professors finds colleges are doing it by hiring more part-time faculty and bringing in more out-of-state students.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Michigan: We are failing black college students. We can do better.

That's the warning from Kim Trent, a member of the Wayne State University Board of Governors. She laid out her concerns in a piece for MichiganFuture.org where she's a policy associate. It's titled "How Michigan fails black college students."

What do you picture when someone says "traditional college student?"
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What do you picture when someone says "typical college student?"

Maybe you pictured a teenage student who recently graduated from high school. He's off to attend college, which is likely paid for by his parents.

That image is mistaken.

chalkboard
Sharon Drummond / Flickr

Administrators and faculty at Jackson College have agreed on a new contract that changes how faculty can earn pay increases.

Instead of so-called "step increases" in pay based on time on staff, Jackson College will pay faculty in part based on job-performance.

"It's a big shift," said Alana Tuckey, president of the Jackson Community College Education Association faculty union. "It's a little bit scary to be on the leading edge of this shift. I mean no faculty in any community college in Michigan right now is facing a contract like this."

Screenshot of Wolverine Access, the university's website for students and faculty, showing the gender identity tab.
University of Michigan

Let's say you were given a male name at birth, but you don't identify as a male. Well, the University of Michigan will now let you choose your preferred pronoun.

Those pronouns will appear on class rosters beside students' names.

Students can choose the pronoun he, she, or they ... or fill in their own.

"This was a proposal brought forward by a group of students working through our Spectrum office on campus," said university spokesman Rick Fitzgerald.

https://wmich.edu/news/2016/08/33779

The president of Western Michigan University announced today he’ll retire next summer, after 10 years on the job.

"I don't feel 71, but this fall I will be 71 years of age,” President John Dunn says. “And I’ve often counseled people, that I think there are opportunities that are places to begin, and there's sort of a time to know you've given a lot of energy and good hard work."

Dunn oversaw the launch of the university's medical school, its affiliation with Cooley Law School, and $500 million in construction projects, according to the university.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Aggregate funding for Michigan's public universities in the next state budget will still be less than it was before a major cut five years ago, despite Gov. Rick Snyder's initial proposal to bring them back to levels in place when he took office in 2011.

  Spending will rise roughly $40 million to $1.4 billion, a 2.9 percent increase, under a spending plan up for final legislative votes this week. The Republican governor and lawmakers had hoped for a $60 million, or 4.4 percent, boost.

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Eastern Michigan University was featured in an episode of HBO's Real Sports, highlighting athletic departments that are losing money and students who are footing the bill. Many have suggested, including Michigan Radio's John U. Bacon, that the school's struggling football program should be dropped or at least moved down to a lower division.

EMU's mascot, "Swoop."
Eastern Michigan University

HBO’s “Real Sports” ran a feature last week on the arms race in college sports. It questioned why Eastern Michigan University still spends so much money to compete in Division I football.  Michigan Radio sports commentator John U Bacon has been asking the same question for a decade.

Morgan Willis

The Next Idea

When Amber Williams and Morgan Willis talk about #ICantBreathe or #BlackLivesMatter, they aren't just talking about Twitter hashtags. For these black activists and many others in Michigan, digital technologies create important spaces of solace, solidarity, struggle, and connection. At a recent conference at University of Michigan called #UMBLACKOUT, Williams, Willis, and an array of local and national black activists discussed the myriad ways that black organizers use technology for both politics and pleasure, online and offline. 

Legos
Bill Ward / Flickr - http://j.mp/1SPGCl0

The Next Idea  

Instead of being the vehicle to join the middle class that it once was, higher education is now an obstacle that actually prevents access to knowledge and reinforces existing privilege. This was the powerful message of a compelling Economist cover story last year titled America’s New Aristocracy

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Politicians and business leaders over the last decade have referenced the “brain drain” as a major problem for the state of Michigan. College students graduate from a state college or university and move elsewhere to pursue a job or begin their career.

TaxCredits.net / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The U.S. Department of Education has cut off  federal grants to the Michigan Jewish Institute in West Bloomfield.

In a February letter to the private college, the government says nearly 2,000 MJI students claimed to be studying abroad in Israel but weren't taking classes through the school.

The letter says those students received Pell Grants through MJI without "physically attending" classes, and none graduated.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

A pair of bills moving through the state Legislature would increase the number of "promise zones" in Michigan.

The Promise scholarship program lets certain high poverty communities use a combination of private and state money to guarantee college tuition or other post-secondary education funding for local students.

There's a way to help every child in Michigan save for education

Oct 5, 2015
Jennifer Guerra/Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

Education and wealth are inextricably linked. Not only does educational attainment affect earning potential and capacity to build wealth, but family wealth greatly impacts a student’s likelihood of completing postsecondary education.

Sadly, measures of family wealth and education attainment in the U.S. show a widening gap between the rich and the poor.

Wikimedia Commons

Research by The Detroit News finds that 20% of Michigan lawmakers don't have a college degree. 

A conversation about lawmakers' education has emerged after Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker entered the presidential race. He attended college, but didn't graduate.

flickr/michigancommunities / http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The Next Idea

When I was ten years old, Kalamazoo was voted the All-American city by the National Civic League. We deserved it. We made the greatest guitars, the finest fishing rods and reels, and the best medicines, truck transmissions and automobile chassis in the world. Our downtown mall was featured in Look Magazine like it was a fabulous resort in Europe.

By the time I was 20 things had changed considerably. The venerable companies that had prospered for 100 years and given Kalamazoo its celebrated reputation began to wane, leave or fail altogether. There were cheaper, warmer and newer places to relocate. Many businesses did just that, and many people followed them.

hmm360/morguefile

Every year, thousands of the state's best and brightest collect diplomas from Michigan colleges and universities and then leave for Chicago, New York and other cities. However, two lawmakers think tax credits could help keep the brain drain at bay.

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.

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