Colleges eye higher tuition for honors, high-cost programs

Capital News Service

By SIERRA RESOVSKY

LANSING — To cover the costs of honors and higher-priced degree programs, public universities across the state are moving toward differential tuition, charging more for programs that are more expensive to deliver, have a high demand or high job placement according to a report by the Presidents Council.

Undergraduate programs such as engineering, health sciences, business administration and computer science all require more funding, whether it be for lab equipment, smaller class sizes or a higher faculty to student ratio. And some public universities are requiring students to pay out-of-pocket for those curricula.

“Although it has been a slow-growing practice in American public higher education in the past decade, the primary rationale is to charge students more of a market rate for specific programs or groups of programs they’re enrolled in, especially those that cost more to run,” said Dan Hurley, chief executive officer of the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.
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Less state money means colleges, students struggle

By BROOKE KANSIER
Capital News Service

LANSING — State funding for higher education has seen a dramatic reduction in the past few decades — and students are feeling the budget squeeze.

Despite increases in the past four years, Michigan spending on higher education is still 4 percent below 2011 when funds were slashed – and still lagging nearly 28 percent behind pre-recession funding, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a policy institute based in Washington, D.C.

That amounts to an average $1,631 less per student than in 2008.
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Who won in Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget proposal?

By COLLIN KRIZMANICH
Capital News Service

LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s fiscal year 2016 budget proposal came on the heels of an executive order that cut $106 million from the current budget, and legislators are now considering slashing $100 million more to address an unexpected deficit.

Next year could be even worse, as the state could take in more than a half a billion dollars less than originally expected in 2016. As a result, nearly all programs and departments are facing cuts.

But Snyder has favored several programs with a proposed budget increase. Here is a look at some of the winners in Snyder’s budget.

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High price tag of college draws concern, ideas

By CELESTE BOTT

Capital News Service

LANSING – A statewide discussion is underway on how students pay for tuition at public, private and community colleges.

College affordability, an ongoing subject of debate, gained considerable momentum when President Barack Obama highlighted the topic while speaking at the University of Michigan last year.

And a State of the State Survey from Michigan State University found that while 95 percent of residents believe a college education is “very important” for success, affordability is a barrier for many.
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College degrees pay off, new study shows

By JUSTINE McGUIRE

Capital News Service

LANSING – A four-year college degree is still worth paying for – even during recession years, a recent study shows.

The Pew Charitable Trust concluded that during the recession, recent college grads had a lower unemployment rate than their counterparts with only high school diplomas or associate’s degrees, and the reason was largely not because they took pay cuts or accepted jobs they were overqualified for.

“It’s indisputable that a full college education puts people at a better economic standing,” said Rep. Sean McCann, D-Kalamazoo, a member of the House Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee.
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Universities innovate, cut costs as state aid drops

By JUSTINE McGUIRE

Capital News Service

LANSING – Public universities in north and west Michigan are trying to become smarter with their money as state appropriations continue to decline and other revenue sources fail to pick up the slack.

Money-saving efforts range from reducing energy use at Grand Valley State University to smarter energy purchasing at Northern Michigan University and Ferris State University to paperless offices at Northern and controlling administrative costs at Grand Valley.

All revenue sources, including state appropriations, federal spending on research and student aid, endowments and philanthropy are declining. Tuition revenue isalso down at some universities, higher tuition rates have not been able to make up for lower enrollment, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, according to a recent report from Moody Investors Service.
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Number of graduate students dips in Michigan

By EDITH ZHOU

Capital News Service

LANSING – U.S. graduate schools saw a 1.7 percent dip in enrollments of first-time students between fall 2010 and fall 2011, marking the second consecutive year of slight decreases, according to a recent national report.

The main reasons for the decline can be attributed to the economic cycle and policy changes.

Overall, according to the survey, more than 441,000 students began graduate studies in fall 2011. First-time enrollment in master’s and certificate programs declined 2.1 percent, while doctoral programs enrolled 0.5 percent more new students.
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Community colleges work to facilitate developmental education

By ANJANA SCHROEDER

Capital News Service

LANSING – About 60 percent of students who show up at a community college need at least one developmental course in math, English or reading, according to Michigan Community College Association President Michael Hansen.

Hansen said, “A large percentage of those students – if they make it out of their developmental education sequence – their chances for actually completing a degree are much lower than the students that don’t get placed in.”

And Jenny Schanker, associate director of the Michigan Center for Student Success, said a strategy community colleges are using to alleviate that problem is communication with their K-12 partners.
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Community colleges boost out-of-state enrollments, revenue

By SILU GUO

Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges in Michigan are enrolling more out-of-state students and international students, a trend that may add dollars to their budgets.

Among 28 community colleges, 21 have an out-of-state and international tuition rate twice as high as in-district tuition, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

Courtesy of Michigan Community College Association

For example, tuition at Lansing Community College this fall is $81 per credit hour for in-district students, $162 for out-of-district students and $243 for out-of-state and international students.
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Community colleges pushing for student success

By CELESTE BOTT

Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges across the state are taking steps to increase involvement in each individual student’s education, including Macomb, Jackson, Lake Michigan, North Central and Grand Rapids community colleges.

They’re developing new education and career planning programs as well as offering a wider range of advising, tutoring and financial support services.

According to Michael Hansen, president of the Michigan Community College Association, those steps are being taken to change the reputation of community colleges from a last resort to a viable alternative to more expensive and less personal four-year universities.
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