The moderate, business-minded governor who disappeared during December’s right-to-work battle appears to be back.
Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget, which he unveiled Thursday, calls for a 2-percent increase in education funding and for public universities to limit any tuition rate increases to 4 percent and under, or else risk losing funding from the state.
In addition, Snyder proposed tying the amount of state money a given public institution receives to being able to meet certain standards relating to graduation rates and how much research is being done.
This is good news coming out of Lansing. Snyder’s plan forces schools of higher education to take an honest look at what’s working and what isn’t, and then act to ensure students can receive a quality education while beginning to reign in the student loan debt crisis that continues to threaten the state’s and the nation’s economic recovery.
We agree, the 15 percent cut to higher education after Snyder took office was a bit too much – and schools and universities around the state are still trying to recover from it. Many people, especially those within the education system, would have probably loved seeing a larger increase, but the commitment from Snyder appears there.
And that commitment is crucial to the future of higher education and the futures of college graduates. Getting a college education is absolutely critical to students if they want to be successful in most careers. That being said, higher education is beginning to look more and more like a burden than a necessity because of ever-rising tuition rates and massive student loan debt.
Much of that can be put on decreased state funding for higher education. Snyder, for the second year in a row, signaling his intent to increase higher education funding is a great start in reversing that trend. More needs to be done, no doubt, but increasing aid while forcing universities to adapt to the challenges of the 21st century is the only way the state, and the country, can address the student loan debt crisis and ensure the economy is on sound footing as students continue to graduate.