You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

16,000 trees, 6,300 labs and 7,300 professors: Just how big is the University of Michigan?

By Kellie Woodhouse


An overhead shot of Ann Arbor.

Jeffrey Smith |

As students prepare to move back and residents prepare to have their town once again flooded with students, asks: Just how wide is University of Michigan's scope in Ann Arbor?

If you live here, it would be fairly impossible to have never stepped foot on the Diag, to have never waded through traffic on football Saturdays or to have never experienced the change of the city skyline with another U-M project, such as the $754 million new C.S. Mott Children's Hospital.

The scope of the school is probably impossible to quantify, but compiled some figures that hint at how vast the university is.

Before you take it all in, try our quiz:

University of Michigan by the numbers:

$11,100,000,000 in net worth

$1,795,000,000 in debt as of March 2012

$1,650,000,000 2012-13 operating budget, up 3.91 percent from last year

$523,000,000 is the 10-year average for yearly construction costs at U-M.

$273,100,000 in state funds awarded to U-M's Ann Arbor campus


A couple of pedestrians walk through the Engineering Arch on the U-M campus.

Daniel Brenner |

34,000,000 gross square feet of building infrastructure

13,000,000 square feet of turf

4,700,000 square feet of sidewalks, steps and plazas.

137,200 desktop computers

42,540 applications for entry into the 2012-13 freshman class, up 7.5 percent from the previous year. 15,523 got in and 6,449 paid their deposit.

$39,120 for non-resident undergraduate tuition in 2012-13, up 3.5 percent from last year.

29,960 staff on all three campuses

16,100 trees

$12,990 for resident undergraduate tuition in 2012-13, up 2.8 percent from last year

$9,750 for standard on-campus housing in 2012-13, up 3.5 percent from last year

7,300 faculty members on all three campuses

6,300 research labs

2,130 classrooms

280 acres of parking lots and parking structures

150 miles of fiber optic cable

8 regents that make the final decisions for major academic and spending initiatives

7 miles of utility tunnels

Kellie Woodhouse covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-4602 and follow her on twitter.



Tue, Aug 28, 2012 : 12:46 a.m.

Seems to me with tuition costs out of control the University needs to become more accountable and should be more open and up-front with students about their expectation in finding a job with a good salary that match their degree majors with no intention of getting an advanced degree with there is some demand. Let's face it, if you get a degree in Women's Studies, Slavic studies, or some other mostly useless degree, all you really need to learn is how to ask "do you want fries with that burger?" Hardly worth the huge tuition cost. If you are wealthy and getting that degree because you want to give back to society more power to you but these young kids are being mostly taken for a ride.

Madeleine Borthwick

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:44 p.m.

*is the war over in ashcanistan? *are teddy bears stuffed w/sawdust? *does ice cream have bones? *WHO CARES?!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:08 p.m.

First of all, what "three campuses" are you referring to -- Ann Arbor, Flint, and Dearborn, or North, Central, and South (and does that include the Medical Campus)?? Second, how could you possibly publish an article like this without the #1 question asked by every visitor -- "how many students are there?" Sorry, guys, this is NOT good journalism!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 4:40 p.m.

Another intersting way of looking at the scale of UM: If you think of UM as a business, and deem the all-funds budget of around six billion dollars the cash flow of this corporation, UM would be on the Forbes 500 list of the 500 largest corporations. Near the bottom, but still on there. Or, six billion dollars is comparable to the gross domestic product (the entire economic activity) of a small country like Laos or Nicaragua. So yes, it's a very large enterprise.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 3:56 p.m.

The UM-Ann Arbor has its own campus police. Do I remember correctly that UM-Ann Arbor does not have its own fire department? If so, and if the U. depends on the Ann Arbor Fire Department in case of any fires on campus, what bearing does this have on discussion/decisions about number of personnel (firemen), number and location of firehouses open?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:29 p.m.

In Michigan, per the Constitution, the State is responsible for insuring that Fire Protection Services exist at Public Universities and is required to compensate local units accordingly. So, the answer is no - UofM does not have it's own Fire Department.

Haran Rashes

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 2:29 p.m.

Kellie, I would be interesting to know how these numbers compare with other research universities, both public and private, that U of M likes to compare itself to. For example, where do some of these numbers stack up to the Harvards, MITs, UC Berkeleys, Wisconsins, USCs, and Cambridge and Oxfords? Is U of M administratively and physically bloated, as some of the commenters allege, or is U of M right in line with its peer academic institutions?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 5:53 p.m.

I know they are very comparable in terms to UCLA which is very similar student body to UM at Ann Abor.

Mush Room

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 3:29 p.m.

I'd be more interested in how Michigan's numbers compare with the other major research universities in our state: Wayne State and Michigan State.

Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

That would be interesting. Thanks for the tip.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 2:04 p.m.

Some interesting stats, but not a very concise analysis. The question posed in the intro is: "Just how wide is University of Michigan's scope in Ann Arbor?" Emphasis, IN ANN ARBOR. Yet you cite a bunch of stats that cover all three campuses.

Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 2:37 p.m.

Most stats deal with the Ann Arbor campus and those that don't, only two, are noted. Thanks for reading.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:25 p.m.

Q: At what point does UM cease to be a University as defined by law and instead becomes it's own tax free city at the expense of and competition with, Ann Arbor? A: about 25 years ago


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:21 p.m.

After reading this I can attest to the fact that the rumor although Mr. Brandon was sending a U of M t-shirt to the little boy in Oklahoma (who was banned from wearing a Maize and Blue t-shirt) but due to the cost of postage he was sending it by bus, taking 36 hours and the t-shirt was stopping at various points along the way for display purposes.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:11 p.m.

29,000 (only 7,300 teachers) staff for 45,000 students is extremely top heavy. UM mgt. & admin staff is bloated beyond belief.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:22 p.m.

"Faculty" does not equal "teachers." It includes many research faculty, i.e., those who are wholly engaged in research, as well as clinical faculty, which includes many physicians at UMHS and other related clinics in the region who may supervise medical students at some point in their clinical training. Clinical law faculty take part in the professional training. These are usually part-time appointments. Individuals, then, may have a fractional appointment, while others are full-time. There is no simple way to calculate an overall student/teacher ratio for a diverse and complex research university that has so many high quality schools and colleges with different missions and structures.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

Your comparing the numbers wrong. 29,000 staff and 7,300 faculty are for all three campuses. 45,000 students includes Ann Arbor only.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:58 p.m.

A significant number of staff is also staff in the research laboratories, from dishwasher to senior research scientists. They are not supporting administration or management, so I wouldn't include them in what you call bloat.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:44 p.m.

isn't that just over 6 students per teacher? doesn't sound too bad to me.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:17 p.m.

the staff includes nurses and non-faculty doctors at the hospital; construction workers, electricians, plumbers, and painters in plant, the IT infrastructure, the bus drivers, etc. This is not 29,000 secretaries.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:09 p.m.

Speaking of the 16,100 trees there is a reallllly nice red leafed beech tree on Washtenaw by that pedestrian bridge.

Pat Ardner

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Who really cares about all these statistics. Doesn't have more important news to report? If not, may be you should go out of business!!!!

Kyle Mattson

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:29 p.m.

Pat- As the numbers above show, U-M is a large component in our community. Sometimes it is an interesting reminder to those not directly tied to the university as to the important role it plays in Ann Arbor.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

The city of Ann Arbor is part of the U of M and always will be....not the other way around.....and the city is very satisfied with that....their belief is that the university is all they need to keep the city need to attract viable businesses and industry that pay taxes....I mean with the university, they can keep the artsey gives them an excuse.....


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:29 p.m.

Sounds like U of M is a Giant beast growing by leaps and bounds!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:23 p.m.

This is good news for the university. Net worth of $11.1billion is up from $10.9 Billion at end of 2011. Something I found interesting in their financials is that in 2011, um had $1.59 Billion in operating expenses for Instruction and Research. But it also had $2.45 Billion in operating expenses for "Auxiliary Enterprises". Any ideas what comprises "Auxiliary Enterprises"?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 5:48 p.m.

In additional health system, also includes Athletics, Parking and Housing


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:26 p.m.

operating its own fiefdom


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:32 p.m.

The bulk of it is the Hospitals and Health Care System. Auxiliary enterprises also include other units that get their budgets from separate sources of revenue - like the athletic department and student housing.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:11 p.m.

Always an exciting time to live and work in Ann Arbor as an alumni this week with student move in and the first football game coming up. The University is immense in size and now with all the new construction. Hard to imagine how much has changed just since the year 2000.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:33 p.m.

and the city remains stagnant......


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:09 p.m.

Strangely enough, the number of students or the average isn't mentioned. I assume it is in the 30-40,000 student range which makes the employee/faculty to student ratio like 1 to 1. Is that normal? Maybe? Seems like a load of labor to me which is fine but it seems high. 7300 teachers?

Dog Guy

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

I was present when the chairman of U. of M. LSA's largest-enrollment department was asked, "How many students are there in your department?" The immediate reply was "seven" in a tone which indicated that the mighty scholar was ready to name them.

Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 1:15 p.m.

Good point. U-M's Ann Arbor campus reported an enrollment of 27,407 undergraduates and 15,309 graduate students in 2011. Thanks for reading!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:25 p.m.

interesting point. The article tells how many applicants there were, but not how many enrolled.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 12:21 p.m.

I believe the total student range is closer to 60,000 when you count all three campuses which the 29,000 staff includes. And these professors are also contributing world-renowned research, they're not just giving lectures. I wish the article had included that the university brings in about 1.24 billion in research grants every year.

Are you serious?

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:55 a.m.

Some other questions - how many acres/square miles/% of Ann Arbor does UM occupy? Any estimate of direct $ impact on the City of taxes (real estate/sales/etc) paid by UM employees who either live here or just work here?


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

You didn't mention that the UM had 3,300 people on the no trespass list before's article and a threat from the ACLU to sue them finally got them to review their trespass warning policies. Imagine being an AA resident who could not be on UM property. There are still many hundreds on that list, without any opportunity to have the decision reviewed by a court.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 10:54 a.m.

So, a $1.65 Trillion impact/budget on the UofM system, and $273 Million from the State.

Kellie Woodhouse

Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

The "4.7 million square feet of sidewalks, steps and plazas" figure was obtained from a June presentation by U-M CFO Timothy Slottow to the Board of Regents. Glad you're reading, thanks!


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:33 p.m.

>> That is not the total budget. That is only the General fund budget. The total budget is nearly $6 billion. << My fallible recollection is that it's closer to $5.5 Billion, something like half of which is the hospitals, med school, health system etc. (largely self-supporting?). The $273.1 million from the legislature is under 5% of the $5.5 Billion-plus total. Those who loudly complain about what a "taxpayer-supported" institution is doing also usually overlook the billions in employee compensation, local purchases. and construction expenditures that the University pours into the community. Another statistic -- can that 4.7 million square feet of sidewalks, steps and plazas be correct? (Doesn't include parking lots, or apparently campus streets.)


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 7:20 p.m.

Sorry for the typo ... it is of course BILLION: $1.65 Billion operating budget, and $273 Million from the State :)


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:18 a.m.

That is not the total budget. That is only the General fund budget. The total budget is nearly $6 billion.


Mon, Aug 27, 2012 : 11:10 a.m.

That's Billion, not Trillion.