State officials contend that MET offers security and simplicity to middle-class families affected by rising college tuition costs. [18] According to State Treasurer Bowman, "This (MET) is truly a savings program for the average family of Michigan." [19] Mr. Bowman has likened MET to an insurance policy, rather than an investment: "If you have homeowner's insurance and your house doesn't burn down, do you feel cheated? That's the nature of an insurance program like MET." [20]

Section 3 of the legislation establishing MET (PA 315 of 1986) sets forth the program's intended purposes:

  • To encourage education and the means of education.

  • To maintain state institutions of higher learning by helping to provide a stable financial base to these institutions.

  • To provide wide and affordable access to state institutions of higher education for the residents of this state.

  • To encourage attendance at state institutions of higher education.

  • To provide students and their parents economic protection against rising tuition costs.

  • To provide students and their parents financing assistance for postsecondary education at a Michigan institution of higher education of their choice.

  • To help provide the benefits of higher education to the people of this state.

  • To encourage elementary and secondary students in this state to achieve high standards of performance.

MET promises to increase educational access by reducing the financial burden of higher education. The economist's task is to examine whether the state's chosen means are the most effective for achieving these stated goals. What we must ask ourselves is whether MET is the most effective way to accomplish the goal of increasing educational access for the middle-class.