Higher Taxes vs. Free Tuition For Michigan Students

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

College students are having to dig deeper in their pockets to pay for school.

"We need all the help we can get to pay for college, college is getting more expensive," said Eastern Michigan University Junior Ariana Beemer.

And that's why Rep. Alma Wheeler Smith (D) Salem introduced legislation Monday that would foot the bill for Michigan's college bound students with a reimbursable tax credit that would repay tuition and fees.

"It's available for any Michigan resident who graduated from a Michigan high school, who has not yet attained a Bachelor's Degree -- this is a dedicated source of revenue," Smith said.

Which is currently missing from the Michigan Promise, Smith says.

"There's nothing about the program, except statute that says that that's where that money has to be used," Smith says.

But she says this bill, named Michigan's Future, would mirror the Kalamazoo Promise and offer more stability for students.

"We expect this to pay us back in the state of Michigan, we will have a more highly skilled and educated work force," Smith said.

But, the educational investment comes with the cost of a 1.15 percent income tax increase, but Smith isn't ruling out other sources of funding.

"I certainly am open to other avenues of supporting the program," Smith said.

And homeowners say they're willing to pay a modest tax increase to invest in Michigan's future workforce.

"If it benefits the children and the students that's okay as long as it's not a 50 percent increase, if it's a small increase I would be very happy to pay it," said home owner Michael Graves.

Students like Beemer say she's doing her part so the state needs to do their part.

"We are the people who are going to be running this country in 20 or 30 years, if they want us to do a good job they've got to help us out in any way that they can," Beemer said.


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  • by Anonymous on Sep 3, 2009 at 08:14 AM
    Education should Not be free.If loans are needed they should be paid back.If some of these students get educations that lead to very high incomes they should be taxed for what they make.For some reason it is not working this way.Free education seems to leave many with the idea if they become rich,they shouldn't pay high taxes either.Just because one has good education doesn't mean they have common sense.Many that have became leaders in gov is proof of that.Sorry it is both parties that have ask for more grants for education.It depends on witch side of the cow you are milking from.
  • by St. James Location: St. Johns on Sep 3, 2009 at 03:06 AM
    Maybe thats all the higher education is worth, FREE. After all the country is run by highly educated people.
  • by David Location: Charlotte on Sep 2, 2009 at 08:56 AM
    You know every year some Dem. says that there needs to be a hike in taxes so students can get free collage money. Anyone wonder why a Dem in an economy that sucks and so many pepol out of work would come up with an idea like this? And say that we need to raise taxes, when are these pepol going to get it. Stop asking for more money WE DONT HAVE THE MONEY this a chance to make a stand pepol need to tell this tax and spend Dem that if she gets this passed that she out of office or are we just robots and going to let these pepol rule our lives. I hope that you are reading this Smith.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 2, 2009 at 06:27 AM
    I was thankful for my free education, most of it was from scholarships and only 20% was from pell grants. I was so grateful for my opportunity, that I have given to various scholarship programs and my alma mater more than i have received. There is nothing more gratifying than receiving a thank you card from a student who appreciated the gift.
  • by who needs help Location: MI on Sep 2, 2009 at 06:04 AM
    Nothing is for free.We paid taxes in for along time.School taxes,property taxes and all taxes asked.Where the money went,exactly what we paid for is questionable.No one really has a clue of what tax goes where.State tax,federal tax?Did we help fund what program?So many act as there whole tax goes to support schools,welfare and so on.I really don't think it works that way if we break down each tax we pay in,and we can't know if taxes go where they say they do because where is the proof?How many times is money taken from one thing and used for another thing?A lot more than we think.The government tells us what we want to hear.Many paid taxes in for years and now by no fault of their own have NO job.Taxes that helped some program or another.Do they now deserve no help?If some A&B student needs some help to educate themselves I can see it to a point.I have seen some students blow money for things not included in grants.Also seen some on food cards to.Don't give them checks to cash.
  • by Nothings Free on Sep 2, 2009 at 03:59 AM
    I'm sick of the word FREE. FREE usually means somebody is going to pay for someone elses problem or behavior. FREE usually means higher taxes or fees. Nothing is FREE and if Beemer and the rest of these college students expect to run this country they might as well learn upfront that NOTHING IS FREE. So, we are suppose to support a FREE education so the students have more money to go on SPRING BREAK. If they have money to travel out of the country or other party destinations they have money to fund their own education. People travel to these exotic locations and then bring back strains of flu and other diseases that create health issues that are a drain on our economy. NOTHING IS FREE and we have enough problems trying to afford paying for our own existence without being burdened by those that want a handout. NOTHING IS FREE so learn to live with IT.
  • by Anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 01:52 PM
    Who elects these officials? Oh yeah, we do and asking us to pay more is their best idea. We need to propose that we fire most government workers. I would be happy with a small legislator and a michigan workforce that is 1/3 its current size.
  • by Tia Wanna Location: Lansing on Sep 1, 2009 at 09:59 AM
    Ridiculous...unless you want to pay back the tuition I borrowed and paid back. Michigan can't afford to suppport this, we can't keep our roads or State sites (campgrounds, etc...) repaired. We should be prompting tourism and upgrading our natural resources. I pay for an airport that should be shut down since it is cheaper to go elsewhere, a bus system that keeps the poor and unemployed in this area or worse brings them here to sponge off society, a college I'm already paying for and don't use. Taxpayers already support the school system regardless if you have children. This proposal needs to be flushed alonged with the proposer!
  • by Mary Location: Mich on Sep 1, 2009 at 06:56 AM
    It is not just schools that need some help.There are thousands with out jobs.Shouldn't jobs come first?Without jobs what good is an education?So one can end up working at walmart or fast food places.Maybe taking out loans could help,but what young person has that good of credit?Let the parents do it,right?Homes are not selling,many with homes are paying out more than they make.Prices of everything has went up and keeps going up.Raising property taxes may just put more homes in the for sale area.We need more fore closers?Who owes what to who?The gov didn't stop jobs from going overseas.They didn't stop any thing from going up.Oil prices going up help a lot in big money.Hurt many with gas prices.Raised food prices to ship all over.Many paid in taxes for years,never asked for welfare help,But they are now jobless and deserve nothing?The wars?Doing us a lot of good,costing billions a year.Gee that money could help USA people a lot.Jobs go to communist countries and help their cause.WOW!
  • by Anonymous on Sep 1, 2009 at 06:06 AM
    I can’t believe this story!
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