Michigan legislature split on how to handle college tuition

By RAY WILBUR
Capital News Service
LANSING — Michigan officials are weighing their options for solutions to a university funding crisis that saddles the state’s students with the ninth-highest average debt in the country. That’s how the Michigan League for Public Policy recently ranked the state in a report that shows state support of universities dropping 30 percent since 2003. The revelations are not surprising. In 2011 Gov. Rick Snyder cut higher education funding by 15 percent, the league said. That came after years of smaller cuts caused by the nationwide recession.

Young Democratic Socialists have MSU chapter

Story by Alexandra Donlin
Video by Natasha Blakely
MI First Election

Bernie Sanders, the candidate whose politics are most outside the mainstream, belongs to a group that has 43 chapters chapters nationwide. This group is the Democratic Socialists. For the younger crowd, there’s a specific group just for them: The Young Democratic Socialists. There are 24 chapters across the nation at high schools and colleges, including Michigan State University. The organization started in the early 2000s and was brought back to MSU’s campus this January.

Okemos High School guiding students to college through its guidance department

By Kelly Sheridan
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

OKEMOS — Every year, thousands of students apply to colleges with the assistance of numerous people. Okemos High School has instituted an assistance program that allows students to have all the tools necessary for applying to their colleges, as well as finding the colleges that fit for them. Hedlun Walton, the director of guidance services at Okemos High School, said the process begins in the spring of a student’s junior year. The school hosts an evening presentation, where they invite an admissions representative from Michigan State University or the University of Michigan to come and give general advice on completing applications and writing essays. “Our assistance begins with helping students position themselves to have a competitive application and to do the appropriate amount of college exploration to make sure they are selecting schools that would be a good fit for them,” Walton said.

MSU Extension helps Clinton County residents improve their lives

By Cydni Robinson
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

Michigan State University Extension helps people in different counties in Michigan like Clinton County improve their lives by bringing the vast knowledge resources of MSU to individuals, communities and businesses, according to MSU Extension’s Web page. For more than 100 years, MSU Extension has helped grow Michigan’s economies by providing information to help people do their jobs better, raise healthy families, build their communities and empower children to dream of a successful future. MSU Extension for Clinton County offers a lot of programs fitting into categories like Clinton County 4-H, agriculture, nutrition & health, children youth and families, dairy and nurturing and parenting. “I think extension is very important. They are the conduits through which we transfer the research and knowledge from MSU to actual applications in communities,” said Dr. Laura Reese, professor of political science at MSU.

Still in high school, but earning college credits at Haslett High

By Julie Campbell
The Meridian Times Staff Reporter

HASLETT — When it comes to Haslett High School, it’s more than just high school classes. With the amount of college credits they offer, it’s almost as if the students are part time attending a two-year college. According to the Haslett High School website, the school is fifth-best in the state and 62nd-best in the country when it comes to college readiness. “Currently, all of our advanced placement classes offer college credit upon receiving a 3 or higher on their AP exam,” said principal Bart Wegenke. “Most of our Haslett High School students take at least two AP classes so they are at least half way through their freshman year before they begin college.”

There are students at Haslett that take enough AP classes in which they earn credit that would normally take them two years to earn at college.

Finishing high school? Check. But St. Johns lagging in four-year college grads

By Brittany Flowers
Clinton County Chatter Staff Reporter

ST. JOHNS — The percentage of people 25 years of age or older with a bachelor’s degree in St. Johns is lower than the county, state, and national percentages. The national average of people 25 and older with a bachelor’s degree is 28.8 percent, while the percentage in the state of Michigan is at 25.9 percent, the county with 27.7 percent, and the percentage in St. Johns falls at only 20.2 percent, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

Some Lansing Community College students are borrowing their way through school

By Haywood Liggett
Listen Up, Lansing Staff Reporter

Some students at Lansing Community College are relying solely on student loans to pay for their tuition. Shane Harris, who attended Lansing Community College for three years from 2011-2014, used student loans to pay for all of his classes. He acquired $6,000 worth of debt during his tenure. If Harris had only taken out the exact loans that were needed to pay for all his classes, he would only be around $5,000 in the hole. “Instead of taking that small refund each semester from excess loans and paying it back immediately, I would put it towards things like clothes and shoes,” Harris said.

School counselor advocates continuing education advice before high school

By Diamond Henry
Bath-DeWitt Connection Staff Reporter

DEWITT — At the Nov. 9 DeWitt Public Schools Board of Trustees meeting, Herbison Woods Elementary School counselor Teri Severy discussed her attendance at the Strengthening School Counseling and College Advising conference, held in Florida. “It was one of the most exciting things I’ve done in my professional life,” said Severy, discussing her trip. The program’s goal is to try to prepare school counselors to help kids figure out different ways they can continue their education, be it a four-year university or a trade program. “I think many of us have changed careers or added into our careers, educators included, but we want to expose students to career and college opportunities,” said Severy.

Community colleges can diversify skill sets

By STEPHANIE HERNANDEZ McGAVIN
Capital News Service
LANSING — Community colleges serve as educational stepping-stones to higher learning institutions and trade schools, creating a gateway for students who want to advance their education, enter the workforce or simply enrich their skills. The trade aspect of a job training program creates an opportunity for students to efficiently become part of the workforce, said Wayne Rodgers, a welding and fabrication professor in the job training program at Grand Rapids Community College. “Everything that we do out there in a manufacturing industry doesn’t take a four-year degree — it takes a specific skill,” said Rodgers. “To have a person take the additional humanities makes them well-rounded, but it keeps them out of the workforce.”

Rodgers estimated about 10 to 15 percent of the students in the non-credit job training program continue onto credit-bearing programs so they can obtain their associate’s degree. Other than that, Rodgers said the heart of community colleges is in technical work.

Community colleges push job training for new workers

By YUEHAN LIU
Capital News Service
LANSING—Michigan employers can get free job training for their new workers from local community colleges. While Michigan companies are expanding and hiring more workers, many need training for skills. Where can employers find an organization to provide that training? The Michigan Community College Association says: their local community college. Michael Hansen, president of the association, said the New Jobs Training Program uses state income taxes paid by the newly hired workers to repay the community colleges for the cost of training.