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New study says students hurt by state cuts to higher ed

Recent Michigan grads have some of the highest student loan debt on average
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Recent Michigan grads have some of the highest student loan debt on average

Michigan college students who graduated in 2014 had $29,450 in student loan debt on average – the ninth highest in the nation, according to a new study from the Michigan League for Public Policy.

That group’s criticizing the state government, saying it cut higher education funding by 30% from 2003, when adjusted for inflation (according to MLPP’s analysis of data from the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency.)

"The reality is that it's become increasingly difficult for students and families to afford an education here in Michigan."

Still, the state’s funding for higher education is way up from its recession-era low, when state colleges got just $300,000 per year from Lansing. This year, public universities in Michigan will get more than $237 million total.

But the League blames the state’s long-term cuts for contributing to rising tuition costs, and for getting rid of grants that can go to older students who might be balancing work and family on top of their degree.

“The reality is that it’s become increasingly difficult for students and families to afford an education here in Michigan,” says Karen Holcomb-Merrill, the VP of the Michigan League for Public Policy. “We have sky-rocketing tuition, we have deep cuts to state aid for universities, and we have [state] funding for need-based financial aid that’s been slashed.”

The League’s advocating for more state funding for higher education, and tighter restrictions on tuition increases. 

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