Less state money means colleges, students struggle

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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Keep kids in school, cops say, or they may end up in jail


Capital News Service

LANSING — Michigan police officers are hoping to lessen the frequency of suspensions and expulsions in the state’s schools to help fight crime.

The problem with out-of-school suspensions is students might not be supervised when they are told not to come to school, said Grand Rapids Police Department Lt. Dave Schnurstein.

“Sending them home can be an adequate punishment but in many households, and certainly in many lower income households, the kids are just home alone,” Schnurstein said. “Some kids, that’s what they’re hoping for.

“When they’re not at school then they have the opportunity to get in criminal acts,” he said.

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Entrepreneurs target Detroit for opportunities


Capital News Service

LANSING – Despite what appears to be a crumbling job market in Detroit and the city’s recent declaration of bankruptcy, local colleges are growing stronger entrepreneurial programs.

Detroit and surrounding areas are becoming home to more start-up businesses, especially on campuses.

“The place it’s most obvious is on college campuses,” said Rob Fowler, president of the Small Business Association of Michigan. In a survey of 15 public universities, SBAM found there were more courses geared toward entrepreneurship than originally thought.

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Ag industry hopes to grow high-tech workers

Capital News Service

LANSING– Michigan agriculture is struggling to find qualified workers to fill positions at all levels, and one challenge is informing potential employees that modern agriculture is a high-tech industry in need of people with the right skills, according to the Michigan Agri-Business Association.

At an egg factory, a robot counts how many eggs each chicken has laid. A computer detects the purity of each egg, and checks for cracks.

In a feed mill, a computer ensures that trucks arrive in order to load proper amount of mixed feeds for delivery to farms across the state.

At a dairy farm, a computer calculates how much milk cows can produce each day by recognizing unique IDs on their tags.
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Push on to pump up physical education in schools


Capital News Service

LANSING – A recent federal study echoes concerns by Michigan health professionals that link the lack of time set aside for physical and health education classes in K-8 schools to increasing childhood obesity.

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) study of public schools indicates that while sports opportunities for students have generally increased, the frequency of physical education classes has decreased.

Noting the “federal government’s role in promoting the health and welfare of children,” the study aims to assist congressional consideration of strategies to increase physical activity among students. Continue reading

Community colleges innovate to stay competitive


Capital News Service

LANSING – Community colleges are finding new ways to compete with for-profit colleges to enroll and retain more part-time and working students.

Those efforts, including one at Kellogg Community College in Battle Creek, come at a time when community college enrollments are dipping while for-profit enrollments are rising.

Over the past year, enrollment at community colleges dropped for the first time in several years, from a high of 260,179 in 2010 to 250,399 now, according to the Michigan Community College Association.

However, enrollment in the state’s degree-granting, for-profits rose from 21,185 in 2004 to 30,193 in 2010, according to the U.S. Department of Education. Continue reading

Some colleges may admit students based on their tuition

Capital News Service

LANSING— Some Michigan higher education advocates disagree with a national survey that found most colleges and universities target higher-paying students during the admissions process.

“I think to paint all universities with that survey is misleading,” said Michael Boulus, executive director for the Presidents Council, State Universities of Michigan.

The survey found that a top goal of admissions directors is to recruit students who will pay more for their tuition, including out-of-state students, international students and full-pay students—those who don’t need financial aid. Continue reading