It’s no secret that the soaring cost of higher education has ensured that many students simply cannot afford to go to a major university. And while there’s no shame in going to a community college or not going to college at all, a university degree opens doors and provides opportunities that community colleges and other paths simply do not. This creates a feedback loop that consigns the kids of poor families to jobs that pay less and gives kids in wealthy families the ability to rise higher and higher on the economic food chain.
Simply put, this is widening the gap between the rich and the poor with every new generation.
The University of Michigan shocked everyone yesterday when they stepped up to the plate to address this problem head on with a program they are calling the Go Blue Guarantee:
Here’s how it will work: Starting in January 2018, any current or future in-state student whose family earns $65,000 or less will be eligible for free tuition for four years. That’s worth about $60,000 for those four years total. […]
“The Go Blue Guarantee is a big win for Michigan families that want a better future, and it honors students who have worked hard to achieve their dreams,” board Chairman Mark Bernstein said. “In short, we are doing the job that Lansing and Washington have failed to do.
“Today, we honor our promise to make college more affordable for families that need the most help. We’re doing this without taking away any need-based financial aid from any family. In fact, many in-state students from families earning up to $125,000 a year are awarded scholarships and grants that pay half their tuition.
“This is a transformative moment in the history of the University of Michigan — our state and nation is watching us.”
The program is expected to cost the University around $12 and $16 million a year and will essentially fill in the gap between need-based financial aid and grants students receive and the cost of their tuition.
Kudos to the University of Michigan for this new initiative. Perhaps in time it will inspire other universities to create similar programs and help break the cycle of poverty that far too many American families are trapped in.