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Posted on Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:25 a.m.

U.S. Secretary of Education says tuition is skyrocketing nationwide

By Kellie Woodhouse


US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan talks to a television crew at Al Glick Field House at the University of Michigan before President Obama's speech Friday morning.

Angela Cesere |

President Barack Obama chose one of the nation's most expensive public universities in a state beleaguered with higher education funding cuts to give a speech on sweeping college affordability changes.


According to U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan Obama decided to speak at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor because the school has "longterm value."

Duncan cited the university's 90 percent graduation rate and the fact that most students get jobs shortly after graduating.

"It represents many things that are going right," Duncan said.

Obama is speaking about college affordability at the Al Glick Field House in Ann Arbor at 9:35 a.m. today. He is expected to unveil financial incentive programs intended to encourage colleges to keep their tuition low.

"Tuition is skyrocketing much faster than the rate of inflation," Duncan said, adding that many middle-class Americans believe college is becoming out of reach for them.

U-M's tuition went up 6.7 percent last year. The cost for an out-of-state upperclassmen to attend U-M is estimated at $53,006 per year, one of the highest rates at any U.S. public university. In-state students pay about half that at $26,810.

As tuition rose last year, state investment sunk by $47.5 million. The state this year funded 17 percent of U-M's general fund, a record low.

"He's asking states to maintain their commitment and he's asking universities to do their part," Duncan said of Obama's upcoming speech. "No one gets a pass at this."

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.


Michael Christie

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 7:32 p.m.

Spend some of your endowments Michigan!!! The school is treating this like supply and demand. The school is in such high demand that they can't let everyone in, so the ones that get in cough up the $$ to go there. Then we have to listen to the moron Obama tell us that he's going to give out more money (notice he didn't say what would be cut or missappropriate to get it) to education. So where's the money going to come from Mr President????


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:24 p.m.

In 1988, my tuition at UM was approximately $3000 a year. In 2011 dollars, this would equate to $5700. But today's tuition is $26,810? 20k higher per year? Anyone else see a problem with this?

Joe Kidd

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:20 p.m.

Well Greggy, that is 24 years. With all due respect, I think it is unfair to compare 1988 costs to costs in 2012 for several reasons. Inflation causes an increase in required goods. Employees get pay raises annually. Buildings have to be repaired and built. Top schools are ranked due to quality of faculty and those folks are expensive. So if you want to stay high in the rankings you have to bring them in. Technology sine 1988 has evolved remarkably. Computing and other infotech equipment was absorbed into education. That stuff is expensive, as is the cost of keeping it running with personnel to do so. You think they use chalkboards anymore? There are increased concerns about safety which expanded staff in areas like police, sexual assault prevention departments, counseling, etc. Transportation has expanded. And I would bet that there are many more services now that help students in their studies. My term at UM was ten years earlier than yours and I can tell you, it was bare bones back then (compared to now). And there have been a few recessions where aid to schools is cut back, requiring tuition increases to make up for less state and federal aid. I am not promoting this as an excuse, I think there is huge waste in universities, but there is very little concern in keeping costs down like in the private sector.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:42 p.m.

Mich Man, I think the survey you read was worded wrong. Ann Arbor is full of people who THINK they're smart.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:32 p.m.

GD - Yes, I see a problem with what you described. I learned, only a few weeks ago, that Ann Arbor seems to have the smartest people in the nation. Why do they not also see a problem?

Usual Suspect

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:28 p.m.

Yes, everybody (except the schools themselves) see a problem with it.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 3:04 p.m.

People don't like this guy who was appointed by Obama, not Bush, and yet give POTUS a pass because he's a nice guy wand gives good speeches. Good luck Komrades...........

EMU Prof

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:56 p.m.

Good thing there are no institutions near UM--like, say, nine miles away--that struggle mightily to keep costs for students low and provide a quality education with a reasonable price tag. Right?

Usual Suspect

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:51 p.m.

"Duncan cited the university's 90 percent graduation rate and the fact that most students get jobs shortly after graduating." The others just migrate to Liberty Plaza and their parent's basements.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:31 p.m.

I wonder which candidate will end up pointing out to Mr. Obama that he chose to tout his demand that colleges and universities lower tuition and costs at a place that saw fit to pay its Dean's overwhelming raises. This is in an industry that offers them ancient benefits which the rest of the world no longer enjoys, such as sabbaticals and golden parachutes for leaving their jobs. The rest of the nation has had to come into the new economy and suffer the hardships of lost pensions to self funded retirement, paying for half the cost of your health insurance and living with high deductibles. The elite - and make no mistake they are living as the elite - of higher education are enjoying ancient perks on the backs of working people who can no longer afford to send their children to such places. Loans taken by kids who still strive to go means they end up paying for these ridiculous excesses of the U elite for the next 30 or 40 years, with interest. It makes no sense. The last round of Dean's increases is obscene to a population here that suffers daily just getting through to the next pay check. There is nothing these people have to offer that is worth what they are paid. Time to bring some fiscal reality to these naked Emperors of higher education.

Michigan Man

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:28 p.m.

This guy is one of the more inept school administrators/executives ever. Duncan ran the City of Chicago public school system for years. This school system is perhaps the worst, most dangerous to your health and under performing system in the entire nation. Duncan is really just a Harvard educated, basketball playing buddy of POTUS who connected via the Chicago system of community organizing. Obama during the State of the Union speech commented on "requiring" young adults to be in high school either until they graduate or are 18? Chicago public schools graduation rate, I believe, is right around 50%. Who would ever hire someone today without a high school degree, yet, this is what Duncan delivered in Chicago.

Usual Suspect

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 2:09 p.m.

Tuition is skyrocketing? Really??? We are so fortunate to have such smart people like him to tell us these things, otherwise we would be COMPLETELY oblivious to it.


Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 1:42 p.m.

Tuition is skyrocketing not because of funding cuts but because compensation rates in higher education are way way out of sync with the rest of our economy. Do some research Kellie: How much does UM spend on faculty on sabbatical??? How many employees at UM make more than $100K??? Hint: See the Michigan Daily Salary Supplement. OCCUPY THE LECTURE HALL!

Joe Kidd

Fri, Jan 27, 2012 : 8:01 p.m.

I agree. Look at the gaps at pay between department heads and employees. And look at travel expenses by administrators and faculty.