Misplaced blame

State government, not Ferris, responsible for student debt

Ferris has been deemed the most efficient university in terms of keeping student costs low, yet many students are leaving with debt higher than $35,000.

Although financial aid has kept me far from that average, it’s hard to think that someone could graduate with a bachelor’s degree and be so deeply in debt.

Throughout the fall semester, my job at The Torch required me to spend time at meetings, interviews and investigating different topics, many related to budgets and money.

From what I have learned, Ferris is at the low end of giving financial aid to students.

Last semester, I attended several presidential enrollment task force meetings.

The task force findings revealed Ferris has the highest student debt out of all the Michigan public universities, as reported in the Torch on Oct. 9.

Despite the fact students are leaving with such high debt, I’m not so sure Ferris is to blame.

In the Michigan Executive Budget, fiscal years 2012 and 2013 from Michigan.gov, the governor’s key spending recommends $13.8 billion for education in K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. This is out of $45.9 billion. State funding for schools is 30 percent, as compared to approximately 70 percent in 1980.

Once you divide today’s 30 percent, which may seem like a large number, by the 15 public universities, the funding equals $920,000 per university. Now that would be a satisfactory amount if the universities actually got all of that, but think of all the K-12 schools and community colleges that also get a portion of those dollars. The amount per institution keeps dwindling…

If the state put more of its priority on school funding, students could be successful college graduates, starting in the work force to better the economy. The reality is that most students will move back home for at least a year and work to begin paying off their loans. Granted, some students will go immediately into a high-paying job and be able to easily pay off their debt, but many will struggle.

The Director of Finance Sara Dew said Ferris tries to help students who are struggling but said some will leave because they simply cannot afford to attend a four-year university.

If a student cannot receive an education, they will likely be working lower-paying jobs.

The entire economy could start back up if the state gave more funding to schools to allow anyone the opportunity to go to school and earn a degree.