Amidst flying allegations of conspiratorial memos and support for corporate corruption, many college students are at a loss for which gubernatorial candidate to vote for on Nov. 5.
But Jennifer Granholm and Dick Posthumus have established clear and dissimilar platforms on one key issue: higher education.
While both candidates oppose tuition hikes, Posthumus said he favors punishing schools that raise tuition rates disproportionately by providing them with less state funding.
“If a college keeps their tuition rate down, they get more money from the state,” Posthumus said in a written statement. “It is a way of continuing to make sure college is affordable to families.”
Posthumus has also proposed legislation for a constitutional amendment that would place a cap on college tuition.
Because of constraints in state funding, Granholm supports the creation of a Great Lakes Scholars Program, designed to fund 4,500 merit- and need-based scholarships through private endowments.
According to spokesman Chris De Witt, Granholm plans on “targeting primarily the philanthropic community” in order to raise money for the scholarships.
“The state’s financial situation would prevent (the use of) public funding, so it would have to be businesses that would be willing to provide support,” he said. “Education in many respects is economic development.
“(Granholm) has a number of organizations that have expressed an interest in helping out.”
If elected governor, Posthumus favors continuing the Michigan Education Savings Program, a tax-exempt savings account that he implemented to help parents save for their children’s college education.
“I like to call the MESP a 401-K for college savings,” Posthumus said. “The matching funds are another great tool in helping Michigan’s working families to afford future college costs.”
Rated by Money Magazine as one of the best state-sponsored college savings programs in the country, the MESP also offers a state-matching contribution of up to $200 for eligible families.
Another area in which Granholm and Posthumus hold different plans involves the future of the Michigan Educational Assessment Program, which provided more than 50,000 students with grant funding last year.
While Posthumus favors the current status of the MEAP, Granholm would like to increase the number of factors taken into account when awarding the $2,500 grant.
“We want to be looking at things other than just a score when rating an individual or a school, such as attendance,” De Witt said. “Certainly there are many upper-income families where the benefits of $2500 is different when compared to the benefit of families that make $40,000 dollars.”