High school students react to proposed funding cuts to Michigan universities

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By Alex Mitchell
Holt Journal staff writer

Newly elected Gov. Rick Snyder’s proposal to hit Michigan’s 15 public universities with funding cuts has some Holt High School students questioning whether they will be able to afford going to college.

Holt High School juniors Brittney Presley (16, left), Tina Kipp (16, center) and Alex Smeage (16) study at a local coffee shop.

Earlier this month, Snyder unveiled his budget for higher education. He plans to cut funding for public universities by 15 percent for the 2012 fiscal year as long as each university  does not raise its tuition by more than 7.1 percent, the five-year rolling average. If a university does not comply , it will be hit with further cuts to funding. Snyder also plans to combine the Michigan Tuition Grant and the Michigan Competitive Scholarship into one program, the Pathway to Higher Education grants, which are said to be strictly need based.

In 2008, the State News reported that Michigan ranked last of all states in higher education funding, something these newest funding cuts won’t alleviate. Including the 18 percent cut that occurred to public universities from the 2002 to the 2011 fiscal years, not adjusting for inflation, universities will have to deal with a 33 percent budget cut over 11 years.

Snyder also made no mention of reviving the Michigan Promise Scholarship, something which he had talked about doing during his campaign for governor.

Sixteen-year-old junior, Alex Smeage, said that despite there potentially being fewer opportunities to receive financial aid, she plans to attend a university.

“I plan on going no matter how much financial aid I get, but I am pretty sure it will influence a lot of people who don’t have the resources to actually go to college,” said Smeage.

Fellow juniors Tina Kipp and Brittney Presley echoed their classmate’s opinion that it will be difficult for some to get an education after high school with less financial aid.

“My dad hasn’t worked in over a year, so if there’s less financial, aid then I am probably not going to go to college,” said Presley.

Kipp said that she has not decided on college yet, but that the amount of financial aid available will definitely be a huge factor in whether she could afford to go.

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