Points of View

Exploring Ways to Pay for Higher Education

Sam Stebbins

The article referenced in this blog can be read here from the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Innovation for Post-secondary Education in Michigan

Last month, the Chronicle of Higher Education reported that the University of Michigan will enact their Go Blue Guarantee in January 2018. This effort promises four years of free tuition for in-state undergraduates who have an annual family income of $65,000 or less. University President Mark S. Schlissel calls the guarantee an “aspirational message,” as the university already provides scholarships and financial aid to low-income students that can cover tuition costs. However, as a “last dollar” program this guarantee is an explicit message that students from low-income families should not be deterred from applying to the university.

In fact, U of M has found that students “applied at two and a half times the rate” after being promised four years of free tuition versus those who were only informed of Michigan’s “generous need-based aid.”

However, some critics say the effort is not as beneficial to low-income students as it may seem. While tuition is guaranteed, college comes with added costs from living expenses and student fees. Additionally, some critics call for U of M to change their admissions policies to improve the accessibility of the university for more students. Regardless, guaranteeing free tuition reduces the overall cost of attending the University of Michigan by about $60,000.


Why it Matters to Talent 2025

Despite the effort’s critics, the Go Blue Guarantee places Michigan at the forefront of innovating post-secondary education. It communicates to many students that a college education is attainable and that there are options available to low-income families. This only helps us reach our goal of 64% of the population having some form of education beyond a high school diploma by 2025.

To learn more about Talent 2025’s work in promoting higher education, check out our K-12 to Post-Secondary Completion Working Group. For more details about the Go Blue Guarantee, read this article from the Chronicle of Higher Education.