Tag Archives: umich
Above, UM Dems rally in solidarity with GEO. Below, Patrick (of GEO) writes a love letter oversimplified editorial to the UM College Democrats and Campus.
On page 34B of the farce masquerading as her higher education budget proposal, Gov. Jennifer Granholm proposed a 3-percent budget cut to state universities.
In the next paragraph, playing the worldâ€™s smallest violin, she beseeched colleges to freeze their tuition rates in light of â€œdifficult economic timesâ€ for students and families.
Apparently Granholmâ€™s bargain for universities is â€œDonâ€™t raise tuition and, in exchange, weâ€™ll cut your aid.â€ I suppose she also expects universities to maintain their quality of instruction and research, too.
Governor, I want a unicorn, but that doesnâ€™t mean I can get one.
Aside from state officialsâ€™ impossible dreams, historical analysis shows something more pernicious at work. Instead of making reasonable appropriations to support higher education, Michigan has quietly shifted the cost of higher education from the state to students.
Using data from the University of Michiganâ€™s Office of Budget, I calculated the percentages of the University systemâ€™s general fund revenues provided by state funding and tuition since the turn of the century. In 2001-02, tuition dollars made up 54 percent of general fund revenues. This school year, they make up 64 percent. In contrast, the stateâ€™s contribution to the University has slipped from 34 percent to 24 percent. These trends do not reflect runaway spending increases at the University; they reflect reductions in Lansingâ€™s contribution.
Adjusting funding totals for inflation with data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics makes the picture bleaker. To put it in starker terms, the governor has proposed $362.1 million in funding to the University system in 2009-10. If state funding kept up with inflation, the system would get $511.3 million. Undergraduates and their families will have to pay higher tuition to bridge that $149.2 million gap.
No matter how the numbers get sliced, they demonstrate the wholesale gutting of higher education funding during the last decade. The state of Michigan has abdicated its responsibility to make a good college education accessible to all residents who have the talent for it.
In calling for a tuition freeze, Granholm cynically hopes to shift responsibility and outrage for the stateâ€™s own shortcomings to state universities to raise tuition.
But the numbers donâ€™t lie. Politicians do â€” and weâ€™re paying for it.