Proposal on College Tuition Costs

PRE-PROPOSAL 1. Media Artifact My Newsletter: Issues with increasing college tuition for low-income families 2. Persona and POV statement Persona: Document found here Persona name: Jim Henderson Age: 60 Years Old School/occupation: CEO of Henderson Company Location: New York, New York   Quote: We will ensure the success of every client that walks through our door   About:
  • Runs a very large, prestigious financial advisory firm in New York
  • Hires students out of college from the best universities
  • Volunteers at a soup kitchen in his spare time

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  • Wants to hire more students from low-income backgrounds to get a more diverse set of opinions in the office
  • Only sees students from wealthy backgrounds at best universities, wants to change that
  • Wishes to grow his business by at least 50% in the next five years


POV Statement:
  • User: Jim, the CEO of a large financial advisory firm….
  • Need: wants to hire students from low-income backgrounds at the top universities….
  • Insight: but can’t find any because many of these students can’t afford these schools due to rising tuition costs.




3. Potential Solutions:

SOLUTION 1: Take away all merit-based scholarships from schools and change them to need-based scholarships. If a student can afford to go to a university, he or she will not need a merit-based scholarship to go, so this money should be saved for people who actually need it.

SOLUTION 2: Create a program where companies can get tax breaks to be a "sponsor" and pay for tuition for teens who need the money. This way more teens from low-income families will be able to attend the top schools, and companies will be able to hire people from more diverse backgrounds at the top schools.

SOLUTION 3:  High schools accross the country improve their AP programs so more kids can enter college with a lot of credits, making the cost of tuition lower (They will have to pay for less classes).



Reference to a current Michigan bill or law that relates in some way to your proposal: 

House Bill exempting sales tax on the sale of higher education books, food sold by the higher education institution to students.


Why this proposal will make a difference in the lives of students of all ages across Michigan, or a significant subgroup (by age, background, economic status, and/or region, etc.) of students in Michigan: This helps students from low-income backgrounds because it lowers the cost of everyday things such as food and other major college expenses like books. Though it does not make them much cheaper, it does add up to help these low-income families. 

How and where did you learn about the issues underlying your proposal? I have always had an interest in how expensive it is to attend some of the top universities, and I personally was not allowed to go to an out-of-state school unless I got a scholarship or wanted to take out a loan and pay it off myself. This is why I wanted to do more research on the topic, as I feel the prices of college tuition are rising at too high a rate.

How has your service activity influenced your thinking about this proposal? My service activity was at a preschool in Ann Arbor. It was a private school, so no child who attended came from a low-income family. I think I realized through this that there is a massive advantage for children from high-income families, even in preschool. These children are recieving much better schooling from age four all the way through the end of college because their parents can afford to send them to the top schools. 

Link to your media artifact(s) giving background on the issue:

My Newsletter about issues of rising college tuition costs for low-income families


CONSULTATION 1: According to an employee at Our Revolution, an organization with goals of empowering millions to fight for progressive change, the US Government will make a profit of about $110 Billion on student loans over the next decade. This is very troublesome, as the government should be supporting college students and their continuing education. A way to end this would be to stop the US Government from profiting off these loans. 

CONSULTATION 2: A U.S. PIRG employee suggested to eliminate smaller costs that drive up the overall price of higher education. For example, 45% of textbooks are sold with an expiring access code and can not be resold. Things like these add up to make college much more expensive than it needs to be and many low-income families would benefit from these costs being eliminated. 

CONSULTATION 3: After speaking with University of Michigan student Ellie Clark, I got to see how the rising costs of college affect students in my community. Ellie is an out of state student who has the goal of going to law school. She will be in so much debt after getting her undergraduate degree, and is worried this will hinder her ability to attend law school. Lowering tuition costs would help her in so many ways, and if she is prevented from pursuing what she wants because of debt, it would be an extreme disappointment. 


Reaction or advice from a Topic Coordinator:

Jenna, my TC, said that I should be better explaining how my consultations influence my proposal so that it creates a stronger argument.


Research process: 

In addition to my three consultants, I talked to a variety of students from Michigan, as well as one of my professors. I had a very casual conversation with a professor, but it gave me a totally different side of the story. He told me that there are so many costs associated with running a college, that they have to increase tuition to pay for it all. This was eye opening to me, as I realized there needs to be a more creative way to solve this issue instead of simply just cutting costs. This led me to research many organizations that advocated for lower college tuition prices. The two best ones I found were US PIRG and Our Revolution, who each gave me great ideas for my solution. Combining all these things allowed me to refine my proposal.  

Author contributions:

I was the sole author of this proposal, and did not recieve any help, outside of my consultations and TC advice, in crafting this document. 

FORMAL PROPOSAL Preambulatory clauses

WHEREAS.... Some colleges have increased their cost of tuition by as much as 3% more than the rate of inflation

WHEREAS.... There are more than 44 million borrowers in the United States who owe over $1.5 trillion in debt from student loans

WHEREAS.... The average student in the class of 2016 had $37,172 in student loan debt

WHEREAS... The state of Michigan ranks number nine among all states with the most U.S. student loan borrowers 

WHEREAS... Many students from low-income families can no longer afford to attend top universities, and in some instances students do not apply to these schools because they know they can not afford to attend them

Operative clauses


1. Eliminate interest on US Government issued student loans, so the government does not profit off college students and students are not restrained by exteremely expensive loans. 

2. In addition to this, eliminate half of all merit-based scholarships and give this money to students who demonstrate need

3. These will combine to allow students to attend the top universities, whereas in the past they wouldn't have even dreamed of attending. 


1. How will some schools attract the best students if they can not award as much money based on merit?

2. What will the government do about all of this lost revenue from interest on student loans?

3. Even if this allows some students from low-income backgrounds to attend the top universities, will it really cause a significant difference in the amount of students from low-income families at these schools?

Costs and funding:

The main cost of this program will be the lost revenue that the US Government gains from interest on student loans. Another cost will be the opportunity cost of colleges not getting the top students because they issue the money to students who are in need instead. I think the best way to fund this program would be increasing the tax on the top 5% of america by a percentage that would cover most of the cost to the US Government. The government could also find ways to eliminate costs through inefficiencies. For example, the government could save $42 billion by cutting programs that are run poorly, cause harm to the public, or are not necessary according to The Heritage. This would help alleviate a lot of the revenue lost from eliminating the interest rates. 


These can include websites or other information you have found about the issue.

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Total votes: 20