Affordability of tuition, room, and board for greater access for marginalized students. With equity and access serving as University priorities, keeping tuition affordable for students coming from families with modest income is a paramount concern. This issue is exacerbated with the fallout of COVID19. Michigan's unemployment rate reached 22.7% in April, surpassing all other recorded recessions. We cannot predict the consequences this will have in terms of affordability for families who were already struggling, and families who are now finding themselves in financial dire straits for the first time. We need to ensure deserving students can afford well-earned seats in MSU’s classrooms.
And loans are not the answer. Student loan debt is debilitating for many Millennials and Generation Xers. This debt burden is even worse for minoritized populations. According to a new report from the Institute on Assets and Social Policy at Brandeis University, twenty years after enrolling in college, the median white student-loan borrower will have paid off 94 percent of the debt he or she accumulated in that period. But the median Black borrower for the same period will still owe 95 percent of his or her student-loan debt. This is inequitable and greatly contributes to the wealth gap that adversely affects minoritized families and communities. I support free schooling, more grants, and more scholarships for the neediest of us.