Michigan Young Democrats Taking a Stand Against Tuition Increases
Posted by Kevin Bondelli on July 26, 2007
Fresh from a national convention in Dallas, Michigan Young Dems are
ready to rumble. MYD National Convention Delegate David Bullock
quoted in today’s Detroit Free Press protesting tuition increases.
Wayne State tuition up 12.8% plus fee
July 25, 2007
BY KRISTEN JORDAN SHAMUS
FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER
Students at Wayne State University will pay 12.8% more for tuition
this fall and also will have to ante up a $13-per-credit contingency
fee that will raise tuition $1,227 a year to $8,039 for the average
in-state freshman taking 15 credits a semester.
The university’s Board of Governors approved the increase in a 6-2
vote this afternoon, and when the contingency fee is added to the
tuition increase, it means students will pay 18.1% more than last
year’s rate of $6,812
School leaders noted, however, that the contingency fee would apply
only to the fall term if the state Legislature follows through on
promises to return $20 million in delayed appropriations by mid-
October. If lawmakers don’t repay that money, the contingency fee
would remain in place for the full academic year.
“It’s not easy … and we are placed in a rather difficult, if not
impossible situation,” said board member Paul Massaron.
Officials acknowledged that the state budget crisis is trickling
down to the public universities, and that year after year of state
aid cuts is taking its toll.
“It is unconscionable what the state is doing to higher education
and to us in particular,” said board Chairman Eugene Driker,
referring to the fact that Wayne gets a bigger share of its general
fund budget — 45% — from state appropriations than some other
universities in the state, including the University of Michigan,
where just 25% of the general fund comes from state aid or at
Michigan State University, at 38%.
Governor Jackie Washington said it’s up to students and university
leaders to make it clear to the Legislature that cuts to public
universities will not be tolerated.
“We are going to have to put the pressure where it belongs, and that
is on the lawmakers in Lansing,” she said. “We hear a lot about how
important higher education is to the state, but when it comes to
funding, we hear a different story.”
Students like Cindy Sabo, 38, who is doing graduate studies in the
nursing school, said it doesn’t change the fact that she will have
to pay more.
She took out $20,000 in student loans for the coming year, and said
she’ll likely graduate next summer about $30,000 in debt.
“They’re a business, and they have to run it,” said Sabo, who lives
in Newport and works part-time at Children’s Hospital. “I don’t want
to pay it, but what alternative is there?”
David Bullock, 29, of Detroit is a Wayne State student, alumnus and
adjunct professor in philosophy. He protested with the Michigan
Young Democrats outside the board meeting today, saying education
leaders need to do more to fight for better state funding.
“I think the state should look at cutting spending on marketing for
the lottery; we’re building prisons rather than spending on
education,” he said. “Education is the key to success. I don’t think
there’s been a discussion of priorities.”
But Robert Kohrman, assistant vice president in the Office of the
University Budget, said Wayne State has to do something to protect
itself from the possibility of even further cuts. The school lost
$3.2 million in the 2006-07 budget year, and $20 million in deferred
payments may never come back to the Detroit campus.
“I think all universities have built in some type of contingency
plan because of the uncertainty in the state picture,” Kohrman said.