Gov. Rick Snyder said many high school seniors are not ready for college when they get there, putting a strain on Michigan's public universities.
The governor discussed college readiness and other challenges facing higher education during his remarks at the 2015 State Universities Summit hosted by Grand Valley on the Pew Grand Rapids Campus October 7.
The summit brought together presidents from Michigan's 15 public universities as well as board of trustee members, regents and other university leaders.
"We need to come together to help each other find solutions to common problems facing our universities," said Snyder. "One is finding ways to help high school seniors be better prepared for college. The number of high school graduates is declining and the majority of those who are graduating need some type of prep work before entering college."
Snyder said another challenge is the increase in the number of high school students who are dual enrolled in college; he said it's creating financial concerns for some universities.
The governor then addressed the demand for college graduates. He said graduates can be more successful if employers do a better job communicating their needs. "Business leaders need to be more open and honest about job requirements and how many people they need to employ," he said. "Students need to understand the skills really needed for the job."
President Thomas J. Haas served as moderator for a panel discussion with David Eisler, president of Ferris State University; George Ross, president of Central Michigan University; and Lou Anna Simon, president of Michigan State University. They discussed campus safety, accountability and tuition costs.
Photo by Bernadine Carey-Tucker
Gov. Rick Snyder talks about higher education challenges before state university presidents, members of boards of trustees and regents and others at the DeVos Center October 7.
"We have an undereducated population chasing after an ever-shrinking number of low-skilled jobs," said Haas. "If we fail to address it, we are consigning Michigan to a hideous future. Education is the answer and every high school student should understand they must pick a post-graduation plan, whether it's an apprentice or vocational program, or an associate's or four-year degree."
Haas said the cost of college is a huge problem and that tuition has increased because state funding for universities has gone down.
"Whining about it doesn't produce a solution. And, cost cutting, which every university in Michigan vigorously pursues, cannot be permitted to affect access and quality," Haas said.