New report finds rising tuition disproportionately impacts students of color

Oct 5, 2018

A new national report finds rising college tuition costs disproportionately impact families of color.

The report, from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, found racial disparities are particularly high in Michigan where the average tuition made up nearly 36% of the median household income of a black family. For white families that number was 21%.

Peter Ruark is with the Michigan League for Public Policy. He said the report shows when the state reduces funding to college it also reduces access and equity.

“This decision to cut higher ed funding by 17% has disproportionately affected students of color. That is a problem.”

Augustin Arbulu is with the Michigan Department of Civil Rights. He said it’s clear that it costs more to access higher education for families of color. But, he said, it’s not clear that the state should be increasing funding to colleges to help solve that problem.

“What is the contribution of higher education to making education available to families, to children of color? What are they doing?

Daniel Hurley is with the Michigan Association of State Universities. He said rising tuition is related at least in part to the state’s disinvestment from public universities. He said, by contrast, Michigan’s public universities have stepped up to the plate.

“The universities collectively are providing 883 million dollars in need-based grants to students from low-income backgrounds in Michigan.”

Hurley said having a four-year college degree is still the best way to increase earning potential.