Groups blame policymakers for skyrocketing cost of higher education

According to the Consumer Price Index, college costs across the country have doubled. Michigan is not exception and the reason can be traced back to budget decisions being made by our legislators. In Michigan, the cost of a college education is more and more being shifted to students since legislative support for higher education has been dwindling.

As a result, a coalition of labor unions, students groups and non-profit organizations have begun the “Higher Ed., Not Debt” campaign calling for more state support of higher education and focusing on the student loan debt.

Michigan is one of 26 states where students pay a larger share of the per-student cost for public universities than the state government does. And tuition revenues make up almost 80 percent of public university general fund revenues.

The groups are not very impressed with a proposal launched earlier this year by some legislators that would allow in-state students to receive interest-free loans in exchange for paying a percentage of their income back over as much as 25 years. According to the coalition this “pay it forward” program doesn’t really address the actual cost of education, nor does it help increase state contributions to higher education.

The coalition is made up of the National Education Association, the American Federation of Teachers, the AFL-CIO, SEIU, Student Veterans of America, the U.S. Student Association, The Education Trust and the Center for American Progress.