michigan universities

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.

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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All of Michigan's fifteen public universities are now offering in-state tuition to all veterans, regardless of their legal residence or active duty status.

In the past, this benefit was limited to active duty personnel.

Michael A. Boulus is executive director of the Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan. He said "Our message is that Michigan's public universities are dedicated to supporting our veterans and their families. We value veterans and are committed to helping them get degrees that are vital to their success and the success of the state."

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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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Michelle Rhee advocates for Common Core

Michelle Rhee spoke yesterday at the Mackinac Policy Conference in favor of maintaining the Common Core curriculum in Michigan. According to the Associated Press,  

“Rhee is a self-described lifelong Democrat who has clashed with teachers' unions, one of the party's key constituencies. During her speech, she called for honoring the teaching profession but demanding more accountability and rewarding the best teachers with more pay.”

Michigan woman killed in Syrian conflict

33 year old Nicole Lynn Mansfield of Flint, Michigan has been killed while fighting for the Syrian opposition movement.

“Speelman's mother Monica Mansfield Speelman tells the Detroit Free Press that her niece was a convert to Islam who married an Arab immigrant several years ago but later divorced him. Syrian news reports say that Mansfield and two other westerners killed with her were fighters for the opposition to Syria's government and were killed in a confrontation in Idlib,” the Associated Press reports. 

Michigan universities produce young entrepreneurs

A new report from the Anderson Economic Group states that Michigan’s three largest universities produce twice as many entrepreneurs as the national average.  According to Rick Pluta,

“The report says almost half of the new businesses started by college grads have been started or acquired in Michigan. University officials say they’ve revamped their curriculum in recent years to encourage entrepreneurship among students.”

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The shootings at Virginia Tech happened five years ago this month. That event caused many colleges and universities to reevaluate safety issues on campus.

Pat Gotschalk is associate dean of students at Michigan Technological University in Houghton.  She says after the Virginia Tech shooting, her university created what they call an “early intervention team.” The team is made up of staff members who identify students who may be struggling.

Gotschalk says originally the team looked for students with academic problems. But over time, they’ve broadened their focus. She says now they deal with students struggling with behavioral, conduct, mental health, or adjustment issues.

The team reaches out to about one-hundred students each year and helps connect students with counselors or support services. Gotschalk says most large schools and universities have programs that are similar.

Most people would probably say their presidents. Based on a non-scientific experiment I’ve been conducting in casual conversations, a fair number of people, can even name the presidents of those schools.

Well, at least the one they attended.

Students from Michigan’s 15 public universities are meeting in Lansing today to personally lobby lawmakers for more money for higher education.

Jay Gage is a junior at Lake Superior State University in Sault Ste. Marie. He’s also the president of the Student Association of Michigan.

“I think it’s a lot more powerful a message than your average lobbyist that’s here day in and day out. To have students from every university come and say you know this is a priority,” Gage said.

A push to allow students to get some kinds of four-year degrees at Michigan community colleges is facing a roadblock at the state capitol.

Community colleges want to offer bachelor’s degrees in nursing and a handful of other fields. Michigan universities oppose letting community colleges offer four-year degrees.

But state senators are concerned the state constitution may not allow community colleges to offer four-year degrees. So for now, the bill is on hold. 

Mike Hansen is the president of the Michigan Community College Association. He says the writers of the state constitution were a little vague on what could be taught at the community college level.

“I wonder why they didn’t just say…shall not offer baccalaureate degrees…in the constitution," says Hansen,  "I think the reason they didn’t do that was so the legislature can make that decision.”  

Hansen is optimistic the state senate will brush aside the constitution question and approve the bill.