Group says university tuition is affordable

LANSING, Mich. — A lobbying group for state universities says that “sticker” prices for a college education in Michigan are misleading because they don’t take into consideration the amount of financial aid that many students receive, according to a report at

The Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan, a lobbying group, recently published a report indicating that federal, state, university and private financial assistance cover, on average, half of the tuition costs at a state university, Mlive reported.

In 2010, the average bill for two semesters of tuition and fees at the undergraduate level was about $9,700, the report said, but the average net cost after subtracting the value of grants, scholarships and education tax credits and deductions was about $4,800, Mlive reported. The study did not take room and board costs into consideration.

“The actual cost of tuition for many, many students is much less than the sticker price,” said Michael Boulus, the council’s executive director, according to

Average tuition at Michigan universities has doubled in the past decade, Mlive reported. In general, need-based aid has increased during that same time period while merit-based aid has declined, the report said. About one-third of college undergraduates receive no grant aid, though they may receive tax credits or deductions, the Council report said.

SOURCES:, “Michigan universities say ‘college is still affordable’ because aid programs defray half of cost,” Aug. 30, 2011

Presidents Council State Universities of Michigan, “Michigan Undergraduate Net Tuition: FY 2007-2010


Mackinac Center for Public Policy, “Experts Differ on Why Colleges Hike Tuition,” June 12, 2010