EDITORIAL: Lack of funding for the future
Funding must be restored to higher education as Snyder’s final term concludes.
Gov. Rick Snyder and Lansing lawmakers plan to unveil the state’s proposed 2017 budget soon.
Based on Snyder’s past proposals, Michigan’s budget will most likely focus on programs and initiatives that support economic growth, higher wages and a sustainable job market.
What we most likely won’t see is a major increase in state funding for Central Michigan University, or any other public university.
Rising tuition costs and crippling student debt directly correlate to decreases in state funding for higher education. It’s a budgetary shell game Michigan college students can no longer afford to play.
Snyder — in all his overtures on Michigan’s future — has consistently neglected higher education funding since he took office. In 2010, he and other lawmakers gutted overall education spending by $930.6 million.
While Snyder slowly restored funding over the past seven years, money for higher education remains lower than it was in 2011.
Before he leaves office, Snyder must make higher education his No. 1 priority.
The governor must increase appropriations for state universities, and, at the very least, boost funding to the level inherited in 2010. Our ability to afford college in the state depends on it.
Last year, CMU’s Board of Trustees increased tuition for in-state students to $405 per credit hour. Following Snyder’s first year as governor, that number was $346 per credit hour. For full-time students taking 12 credits worth of classes, that’s an increase of $708. Each of these tuition hikes was a direct result of Michigan’s cuts to higher education.
Unless Snyder works to increase state funding, CMU’s tuition will undoubtedly continue to climb. At some point, no student from a family of reasonable means will be able to afford attending a small public college like CMU without taking on large amounts of student debt.
In his most recent State of the State address, Snyder touted his efforts to bring Michigan’s economy back from the brink. Overall, state revenues are increasing. There are more jobs for new graduates, and the state’s expansion of Medicare and Medicaid helped push an economic boom.
With new and vast resources at his disposal, it is shameful if Snyder yet again refuses to increase university aid.
If state funding is not increased, it will run counter to his musings about “the best and brightest minds” choosing Michigan colleges over our competitors in other states.
Snyder said he is convinced that graduates from these schools want to stay, work and live in Michigan. It’s time for our governor to put his assumptions to the test by making college affordable again.
It’s time for Snyder to put his money — quite literally — where his mouth is.