Last month, the University of Michigan announced a new plan to offer free tuition to all in-state students. Titled the Go Blue Guarantee, all in-state students with a family income of $65,000 or less can receive free tuition for four years. While this sounds like it will be a fantastic opportunity for some students, it’s important to look out how a program of this scale will affect other students at the University of Michigan as well.
The program will go into effect in January of 2018, and will also be applied to current students at U of M. The Vice Provost for Enrollment Management Kedra Ishop said that they know the program will help a large portion of students already on campus, telling MLive that “We know that we have just about 3,000 students on campus that have incomes below $65,000. A good portion of them will qualify, or already qualify for tuition support.” Given U of M’s prestigious reputation, its program provides hope that other high-ranking universities will roll out similar programs.
The Go Blue Guarantee was passed with the new budget, which was passed 7 to 1 with only Regent Andrea Fischer Newman opposing. But, her reasons for opposing shouldn’t be taken lightly. Along with passing the new program, the board passed an increased tuition rate of 2.9 percent, increasing out-of-state tuition by 4.5 percent and graduate tuition by 4.1 percent. Newman worries about the tuition increases, stating “There are still going to be many families – particularly middle class families – who will be priced out of the opportunity for the world-class education available at the University of Michigan.” Though her worries are sound, the board also passed an increase of 9.5 percent in financial aid.
All in all, despite the increase in tuition (which is happening at almost every university anyway), the University of Michigan’s plan is likely to offer educational opportunities for students at a high-ranking university that might not have had opportunities otherwise. As college educations continue to become costlier, any program that helps take away student debt is a welcome breath of fresh air.
(Photo courtesy of Emily Mathews)