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Hillsdale College replaces state scholarship aid with private funds


Hillsdale College, a private liberal arts school in southern Michigan, announced Monday it will no longer accept state taxpayer money for student scholarships and financial aid.

The state money that students were scheduled to receive this academic year will be replaced by privately raised funds, college officials said. Hillsdale students got about $670,000 in state tuition aid and scholarships last year.

Hillsdale has not taken any federal taxpayer money since its founding in 1844. Now the college won’t take any state taxpayer money, either, likely making it one of only a handful of colleges across the nation to refuse all government money.

Hillsdale College President Larry Arnn said the action continues the college’s “historic independence from government regulation” of its operations and curriculum.

“Hillsdale College has proven that a higher education institution can not only operate, but also thrive, free of federal taxpayer subsidy and of the strings that come with that support,” Arnn said in a statement. “We view this new step to be in line with the mission of the college and with the interests of Michigan taxpayers, who are being asked by Lansing for increased taxes.”

Michigan’s state government faces a possible $1.6 billion budget shortfall for the fiscal year that starts in October. Democrats including Gov. Jennifer Granholm have said a tax increase is needed to help balance the budget and raise money to support programs including higher education. Republicans have said they want to cut government spending before they would allow a vote on a tax increase.

Hillsdale College has about 1,300 students. About 350 of them last year received money from the affected state programs, which include the Michigan Merit Award, Michigan Promise scholarship and the Michigan Competitive Scholarship/Michigan Tuition Grant program.

Hillsdale College tuition is increasing 4.2 percent this school year, raising the total annual tuition bill for a full-time student to about $18,160.

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