The recent news article about our College is grounded in misinformation and does not present an accurate picture of who we are and what we represent. Given the biased and unbalanced nature of the article, we can only conclude that it intended to cause harm to students, alumni, employees, and community members. Over the course of several months, Baker College provided several artifacts, responded to questions, and requested corrections; much of the information provided was ignored.
Over our 111-year history, Baker College (BC) has aided thousands of students and taken much pride in watching them walk across that stage, capture their diplomas, and realize their dreams.
Thank you for taking the time to understand the facts related to specific aspects of the story.
Why did the article compare marketing expenses to institutional aid (scholarships)?
It is important to note that there is no correlation between a marketing expense, which includes software, operational costs, website maintenance, consulting, and advertising, and institutional aid. Instead, the proper comparison is between tuition and scholarships. Given that BC’s tuition is low, the amount of scholarships awarded is proportional to tuition. As an example, according to Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), for the last reporting year, 2019-2020, Baker Colleges annual tuition rate is $11,070, the average tuition in the State of Michigan is $23,481, and the National Average is $22,284. Therefore, given that BC’s tuition is half that of the state and national average, the scholarship awards align with the cost of tuition.
However, in support of full transparency, marketing expenses and institutional aid are outlined as follows:
- Total Institutional Aid provided to BC students over the last five years is $54 million.
- BC provided students $9.6 million and $9.1 million in Institutional Aid for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years.
- In addition, BC Marketing expenses totaled $9.7 million and $8.5 million for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 academic years.
On average, how much do BC graduates earn, and does BC provide lifetime career assistance?
The College provides lifetime employment assistance and counseling for students and alumni. According to the National Association of Colleges and Employers (NACE), an agency used by several higher education institutions across the county to benchmark employment rates, data indicates that our graduate employment rate is 6.1% higher than the average in the Great Lakes Region. In other words, our graduates are employed at a higher rate than peer institutions and have a mean salary of $52,000 annually, which aligns with the industry average.
What percent of revenue does BC receive from student loans, such as Title IV and Pell?
Baker College revenue, tuition, financial aid, and student loans are as follows:
Baker College Tuition:
- BC maintains one of the lowest tuition rates and total cost of education in the State of Michigan.
- BC tuition is lower than 13 of the 15 public universities in the State of Michigan.
- BC tuition is lower than any of the private 4-year colleges or universities in the State of Michigan.
Federal Financial Aid and Student Loans (Title IV Aid):
- Federal student loans are regulated by the government, not Baker College, and BC does not have the authority to limit student loan amounts.
- BC provides clear and significant counseling regarding loan eligibility and strongly encourages students to only borrow funds needed to cover their direct educational expenses.
- Once students receive their loan eligibility, they are required to complete an active confirmation to request the loan amount or decline the loan.
- Additionally, students are required to complete the Federal Department of Education’s Student Loan Entrance Counseling prior to receiving their loan funds.
- BC is required to distribute excess Title IV funds to students. This past academic year, 46.7% of Title IV funds received were refunded to students as an excess of their direct cost of education.
The percent of revenue by type and academic year is as follows:
|Title IV Aid Data||2017-18||2018-19||2019-20||2020-21|
|% of Tuition from Institutional Aid||10.20%||12.20%||14.20%||14.80%|
|% of Tuition from Pell Grants||25.30%||22.70%||21.80%||15.90%|
|% of Tuition from Student Loan Aid||32.80%||27.80%||26.30%||33.50%|
|% of Title IV aid Refunded to Students||34.30%||43.30%||43.50%||46.70%|
The article made several statements about student loans and borrowers’ defense, is that information accurate?
Although we cannot comment on the students quoted in the article, we can affirm that in some cases, the loan amounts quoted do not match our records or exceed the Department of Education’s (DoE) financial aid borrowing limit. We follow strict guidelines and proactively engage in routine audits to ensure that we adhere to federal, state, and local guidelines. We also do not encourage borrowing in the manner that was outlined in the article. Additionally, all students are federally required to complete entrance loan counseling to learn about student loans and debt management. Finally, we continue to be in good standing with the federal and state government and our accreditations, and we are not aware of any claims being successfully resolved.
The article indicated that 70% of students are having a hard time paying back loans, is that true?
No, that is not true, and we do not understand this claim. According to the College Scorecard, two years after entering repayment, the percentage of students delinquent on their loans is 12%, and those in default are 6%; both rates match the average for the State of Michigan. In addition, BC has resources available to help students and has partnered with a third party to provide repayment guidance and assistance, which is available for our students and graduates.
Why is the graduation rate similar to community colleges?
Before 2017, Baker College operated similarly to a community college. However, BC has moved away from offering certificates and associate degrees over the years and now favors bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The change in strategy is attributed to improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs) that are not yet publicly reflected in the six-year, 150% graduation cohort rate.
When comparing 2017 to 2021, related KPIs are as follows:
- Prior to 2017, the incoming GPA was below 3.0 as compared to 3.33 for the incoming class of 2021.
- Prior to 2017, the percentage of students seeking a bachelor’s degree was below 50% as compared to 74% in 2021.
- Prior to 2017, the retention rate, fall-to-fall, was 44.6% as compared to 64.8% in 2021. (Note: Given the increased retention rates, it is expected that the graduation rate will follow suit; however, given that graduation rates are a lagging indicator, 150% or six years, the published rates will not reflect the increase until future years.)
Is the Port Huron campus closed?
No, the Port Huron campus, including the onsite residence halls, is not closed. It is home to our award-winning Culinary Institute of Michigan.
The article states that BC often starts programs, then changes them, moves them, or shuts them down before students finish. Is that true?
No, this is not true. Our mission is to ensure that our students and graduates are successful. If changes occur, we always include a path to completion, including financial support. For example, we will transition our Auburn Hills location to a new state-of-the-art campus in Royal Oak this fall. As part of that transition, students who transition from Auburn Hills to Royal Oak (or another BC campus) will receive a BeMore Scholarship of $1000 per semester to cover any unforeseen expenses and will continue to receive the BeMore scholarship as long as they maintain continuous enrollment.
The article indicates that “experts” identified concerns with the governance structure. Who reviews the governance structure to meet local, state, and federal guidelines?
The governance structure is routinely reviewed by the Department of Education, State of Michigan, Higher Learning Commission, and specialized accreditation entities. BC also seeks legal and regulatory counsel to ensure that the bylaws and governance structures meet appropriate guidelines.
Additionally, the article states that past presidents were highly compensated for being on the board; is that true?
No, that is inaccurate. Past presidents elected to have a portion of their salary deferred with payment after retiring from their role as system president.