//T-Bird’s Tidbits 58-14

T-Bird’s Tidbits 58-14

How do we regulate the ever soaring costs of an education, so Michigan residents can get the education they need without paying for it into their retirement years?

According to the Michigan League for Human Service article “Importance of Postsecondary Education,” secondary education is vital as Michigan is shifting from a skills-based to a knowledge-based economy.

The article said that tuition at Michigan four-year colleges increased 20 percent between 2005 and 2008. Tuition at Michigan’s four-year colleges and universities continues to be higher than the national average.

At a lesser rate, the same can be said for two year colleges in Michigan. St. Clair County Community College is among those colleges in our state raising tuition for the coming school year. Despite this increase, tuition at SC4 still remains lower than the national average.

Economic situations in Michigan make even these lower rates a struggle for many Michiganders wanting to return to school to better lives for themselves and their families.

The Michigan League for Human Services stated that Michigan’s poverty rate has risen for the second consecutive year. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that for children in our state, the poverty rate is at 19.4 percent. Explain that to the parents who cannot find a job because they don’t have the job skills necessary to get the job to earn income to feed their hungry children.

Those able to get into a college for education are at risk of defaulting on student loans. As tuition increased, family income did not.

According to the U.S. Department of Labor, Michigan has faced the following in 2009-2010:

  • Michigan’s annual unemployment rate in 2009 was 13.3 percent, more than double the rate of

5.3 percent in 2001. For African Americans, the Unemployment rate hit 21 percent—nearly double that of Caucasians at 12.2 percent.

  • Inflation-adjusted median household income ranked 35th in the country at $45,255 in 2009,

down from $54,054 in 2000 when Michigan ranked 18th.

Bankruptcies have risen since 2006 in our state. With Michigan’s history of unemployment, how will Michiganders pay back the loans for education? According to Michigan League for Human Services, defaulting of loans is on the rise.

CNNMoney.com stated that the overall, nationwide student loan rate on federal student loans climbed to 7 percent in 2008. According to CNNMoney.com, of the 3.4 million students slated to begin payments in 2008, over 238,000 defaulted by September 2009. CNN also explained that students attending for-profit colleges are at a greater risk of defaulting.

I am one of the students suffering from cuts made to the Pell Grants. Luckily for me, my editorial position came with a scholarship to cover only my tuition. Covering books and other supplies is an issue many of my fellow students can relate too.

It would seem much more should be done to take care of our own in our own backyards and neighborhoods.

Twana Pinskey