College costs

As the class of 2013 prepares for their fall plans, the cost of post-secondary education is on their minds.
Krystle Wagner
Jul 20, 2013


The U.S. Department of Education recently updated its list for affordability and transparency to help families make informed decisions. The list reported the national average for a public four-year university was $7,135 for tuition rates and fees in 2011-12.

The average cost for a private for-profit university came in at $15,112, while the average for a private-not-for profit college was $22,786.

In a Grand Haven Tribune survey of more than 400 seniors from area high schools, 89 reported they will take classes at Muskegon Community College, 50 will attend Michigan State University, and 46 will head to Grand Valley State University.

Cost is one reason Grand Haven High School graduate Rachel Boone is sticking close to home this fall.

Boone, 18, said she knew if she attended a large university and moved away from home, it would cost more than her plan to attend Baker College in Muskegon.

“My mom was happy I’m not going to be four hours away,” she said. “She realized I may need help through college, and that’s why I’m staying home.”

Boone said she looked at attending Muskegon Community College, but preferred Baker’s competitive nursing program to help her become a registered nurse. She plans to pay for college with scholarship and grant money.

David Bancuk said he wanted to go straight to a four-year university to get a “real college experience” but altered his plans after he considered the costs.

The 2013 Fruitport High School graduate weighed his options: he could attend Ferris State University for four years and spend thousands of dollars more, or he could take classes at Muskegon Community College for two years.

In the end, the 18-year-old felt it was best to take general education courses at the local college to save money.

“I don’t want to spend a bunch of money because prices keep going up,” he said.

Bancuk said he spoke to his mother about his decision, who agreed it would be better to save his money.

Bancuk plans to enroll in Ferris State University’s welding program once he takes two years of classes in Muskegon.

He said he is interested in welding because he feels proud of holding something he created, and the Big Rapids college has a good program.

“It was kind of a no-brainer,” he said.

Smaller class sizes are what attracted Grand Haven High School graduate Alex Horan to Alma College.

Horan, 17, said she looked at colleges similar in size, including Grand Valley State University. She noted that she didn’t want to be caught up in “being a number” on a large campus.

The Grand Haven graduate said Alma’s scholarships — and having friends on campus — helped her decide where she’s headed next month.

Horan said the private college will cost more than other schools, but she plans to pay for school with scholarships, money she’s saved and by working part-time.

“It will be worth the money I’m paying because it’s smaller,” she said.

Fruitport High School graduate Zach Rabach said he’s staying in the Muskegon area to attend Muskegon Community College because it would allow him to put money toward a larger university.

Once Rabach, 18, completes his general education requirements, he plans to transfer to the University of Michigan to study sports psychology.

Rabach said he looked into the Ann Arbor school along with Western Michigan University and Grand Valley State University before making his final choice.

The Fruitport graduate said his employment at Wesco will keep him from dipping into his savings account for at least a year.

Rabach noted that the company pays up to $1,500 a semester for students who receive an A in class. He also received a scholarship through the Masonic Temple, and will pay a small amount out of his own pocket.

Rabach said it’s a relief he won’t have to dip into his savings account until his second year of college.

“That’s pretty cool,” he said.



The state of Oregon has passed a law that addresses student college loan problem...."In the face of our $1 trillion student loan debt crisis, one state is taking action. After a campaign led by the state's Working Families Party and students at Portland State University, Oregon recently passed a bill that instructs the state's Higher Education Coordination Commission to develop a "Pay It Forward, Pay It Back" plan to fund higher education. Under the plan, students pay nothing while in school, then pay a fixed percentage of their income to fund higher education going forward. As Katrina vanden Heuvel writes, the idea represents a "huge stride toward putting an end to the crushing debt horror stories which Occupy Wall Street helped to place on the national radar."

Since 2003, the average student loan burden for a twenty-five-year-old with student debt has grown an astounding 93 percent. Ten percent of student loan borrowers owe more than $54,000....".


Sounds good, however how does the state or college pays for the education while the students are attending under the plan, it is obvious that the students would not be paying for education. As the student pays nothing while in school, correct, so who is paying until the program starts bringing in funds.
It would be much easier if the student move to another country, becomes a citizens of that country and then come to the United States illegally. They would be entitled to less expensive education and grants...etc. I do agree with you that something must be done, but people also must wake-up from the entitlement dreams.


Education cost are a bubble like we saw happen in housing, to will crash as it is very clear already the cost/value is out of whack. Add in a stagnant job market and you a recipe for the crash.

LOL on your last paragraph Zegota, sad but true.


This link explains in more detail the Oregon Pay It Forward plan. It's not a done deal yet, but the coolest thing about this is that it started as a student project at Portland State University, and in less than a year it has reached the legislative stage.

Tri-cities realist

The Salon article states that "the plan derived from the work of Milton Friedman." According to Wikipedia "Friedman allowed the Cato Institute to use his name for its biannual Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty beginning in 2001." Does this relationship not invalidate the plan in your view, Lanny?


I'm Old School, TCR. I can approach a project and assess it based on all pertinent data. As far as this particular project goes, I couldn't care less if Barry Goldwater and the John Birch Society were the original creators of the idea. I am able to assimilate and analyze without going off into the river Tartarus, winding about dredging and stirring up hate, fear, and political animus. It's sort of like the Heritage Foundation 1989 universal health care project and Obamacare.

I haven't done enough study on the Oregon Pay It Forward plan to validate or invalidate it, in my mind. My intent is to offer a plan where college students were the drivers, and learned a lot about government while they did the work necessary to try and solve a problem.

I'm far more interested in problem-solving than in passively criticizing, idea-less, welcoming problems to illustrate why life is just so darn full of problems.


An “Old School” Obama supporter…hahaha. That’s an oxymoron if I ever heard one. All joking aside; the way to solve America’s problems is to Stop Giving Handouts. It will get us nowhere; look where it has put us in the last 30 years. If you want something, you need to work for it!... That is old school lanivan.


Did you know that welfare spending makes up only 5% of the total spending of the federal budget for 2013? And of that 5%, only 10% goes to the non-working poor. And those non-working poor that receive federal money are subjected to a variety of restrictions and requirements in order to begin receiving and continuing benefits.

Actually, Old School Oxymoron would make a very cool name for this forum - wish I'd thought of it!


......and the other segregate portions of the budget include monies going to the poor, so your 5% number is not accurately representing all the money that is going to the poor.

Interesting enough the largest part of the budget is spent on, here it comes, Health care at 24%. That is expected to grow to 30% in the next couple of years.

Lannering would also make a cool name for this forum!


lannering...i like it! first off, lan, i don't believe your numbers, but I don't care if it is 1% of the budget; No More Handouts! And they should quit calling it a budget...that word does not exist to federal gov. A budget is when you spend what you have, America has not been in that boat for nearly half a century.


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