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Posted on Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:14 a.m.

Michigan's public universities are among most expensive in U.S.

By Kellie Woodhouse

Tuition at public universities in Michigan is far more expensive than tuition at public universities in other states, Bridge Magazine reported today.

042610 commencement line university of michigan.jpg

Angele Cesere |

According to the magazine's analysis, 12 of the state's 15 public universities have net costs (which includes tuition, housing and fees) higher than their peers in other states.

That includes the University of Michigan, where the net cost per student is more than $4,000 above the median net cost for top-tier public universities elsewhere. In fiscal 2009, the net cost to attend U-M in Ann Arbor was $16,888, while the median net cost of top-tier universities was $12,738.

U-M Provost Philip Hanlon told Bridge Magazine that the high cost of a Michigan public education is due to "lost appropriations" over the past decade.

Read the full article here.

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


Geoff Larcom

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:41 p.m.

It is very important to note this leading paragraph from the Bridge story, which is quite thoroughly reported and researched. " College costs across the country have doubled in the past decade, according to the Consumer Price Index, partly because of rising health-care and retirement costs of university employees. But the difference in cost between public higher education in Michigan and other states can be traced to one thing: Budget decisions made in the State Capitol. As state support drops, more of the cost of college is shifted to students and their families — a 21st century "college tax." Also noteworthy: For the last three years, EMU has led the state of Michigan by far in tuition restraint. Only two of the 15 public universities in Michigan – Saginaw Valley State and Northern Michigan – now charge less in yearly tuition than Eastern. Note: Geoff Larcom, a former Ann Arbor News reporter and editor for 25 years, is now director of media relations at EMU.


Fri, Jan 13, 2012 : 2:10 p.m.

I wish people could understand this.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

Too bad didn't do a better job of summarizing the original article. Folks should read it before jumping to all these conclusions. First, the data used for the study came long before Gov. Snyder, so while recent cuts haven't helped, this problem pre-dated the Snyder administration by years. Secondly, the study essentially shows that Michigan families/students are carrying the education burden, rather than making the tax payors carry the burden. Michigan tax payors pay less per public university student than tax payors in other states. So if you are a Michigan tax payor and you don't have a student in a Michigan public university, maybe you should be grateful to us parents who are paying for it instead of you. That is, of course, if you don't value having an educated state (sarcasm alert), because clearly there are many families/students who can't pay. Lastly, maybe this article points to something not discussed in the summary. If I understand the original article correctly, the total annual cost of going to a U of M in 2008-2009, say, is the $16,888 the parent/students pay and the $7,119 Michigan tax payors contribute. This equaled $24,007 in 2008-2009. The equivalent cost at a UNC was $12,738 (average parent/student cost as the article doesn't give UNC's actual) plus the $19,460 North Carolina tax payors contribute. This equaled $32,198. So, overall the annual cost per UNC student in North Carolina was WAY higher than per U of M Michigan. Looks like U of M may be the bargain. If I had the actual parent/student cost for UNC, I would have used it, but I think it is safe to say that maybe Michigan does know how to keep education costs down (relatively speaking). We just need to decide if we think tax payors should be shouldering more of the burden than parents/students.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1 p.m.

The only thing the UM administration cares about when it comes to tuition is how much will the market bare? That was the discussion this year at the Regents meeting when they decided they could not raise out of state tuition as much as they did in state because they were finally reaching the market limit at $37,000. They are also quietly increasing the percentage of out of state enrollment. Where will they find students who are willing to pay even more? From China. There are more than 1,700 Chinese students enrolled and climbing and that does not even count all the Post docs and visiting scientists. President Coleman proudly wrote in Forbes magazine &quot;the University of Michigan enrolls more Chinese students than any other American University&quot;. UM can afford to keep raising tuition even though it means that fewer Michigan families will be able to afford a UM degree as long as they have Chinese students willing to pay. Read more at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>. VOTE FOR NEW REGENTS


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 5:28 a.m.

The word &quot;Public&quot; implies universal access. Michigan - as much as I love it - does not qualify for that title. If it or any university is &quot;public&quot; then citizens own it and are all entitled to access its benefits (according to their ability to use them). No political party, no private individual or corporation should be meddling with PUBLIC property. If the public is willing to pay taxes to fund education at all levels, then the government's job is simply to distribute the revenue and ensure that quality standards are met. If U of M has five times the student applicants it can handle: then expand it, and expand the other universities too.

Silly Sally

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 12:52 p.m.

Two years ago I took a class at Eastern. My undergraduate degree is from a university similar to UM. The difference between the caliber of student at EMU vs UM is stark. While EMU has many good students, it also suffers from the 60% who will not graduate and the 20% who are not even college material and should not be there. Go study at a library at EMU and then UM. One does not see that 20% at UM. At EMU, that 20% thinks librarys are social halls. . Tru2Blu76 proposes to ruin UM bu admiting almost all who apply, in the name of being a business? Is he Joking?

Stuart Brown

Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:20 a.m.

The issue of state aid is a red-herring! UofM is a big money machine and tuition would still be the same as it is now even if the state had pumped more money in; the only difference would be that UofM would spend more. Tuition has gone up because of the demand for education; the more money the government makes available in aid, the faster tuition increases. The state's public universities may be formally &quot;public&quot; but they have not served the public well over the last 30 years when it comes to containing costs.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 10:07 p.m.

Kade, what you are saying is that if the state of Michigan gives the U of M another 4,000 dollars per student then they will reduce their tuition cost by a like amount. What are you smoking? With the numbers you posted for revenue generated by the U of M I think a .05% city income tax to help relieve property owners of subsidizing public services for students and employees.wouldn't cause a problem.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:39 p.m.

Snapshot- No, I'm saying that the implied &quot;burden&quot; that many people beleove the U puts on the state is ludicrous based on the jobs, revenue, scholarship and other quality of life benefits it brings not only to its employees, but to the region. And the data reflects that. However, that's not to say that the U is incapable of &quot;giving back&quot; still more to the city. Many institutions make a gift to the cities they exist in to offset the imbalance of property tax, etc. --Harvard and MIT being two examples. But that's a topic for another thread.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:39 p.m.

Michigan is not the only state that has had problems with budgets, and not the only one to cut funding to state universities. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> State support to almost public universities is falling according to this report. Michigan's per student costs (state support, tuition, and other funds) is still above average if you look at the US.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:26 p.m.

Funny how the peons, excuse me the workers constantly hear there is not enough money for raises and they need to give back on benefits, but there is never a shortage when the raises and bonuses come up for the management.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:27 p.m.

Read about the deans' salaries- now you know where the monies are going. I wonder how many political appointments the Michigan universities have making 6 figures. did a good job identifying the 6 figure salaries for AAPs, so repeat with this one.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

Read the whole article .... which would be a first for Republicans .... it said that only Rhode Island and New Mexico cut funding more than Michigan, and places the blame clearly on the education funding cut for Michigan Universities' placement in the report. Keep reading.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 1:37 a.m.



Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:27 p.m.

But that would mean people would have to give up the hobbyhorse of ranting about 15 salaries and that has kept threads like these alive for weeks.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:18 p.m.

THANKS, SNYDER! No, really. Thanks. Oh, and about that surplus.....


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 5:05 p.m.

&quot;due to &quot;lost appropriations&quot; over the past decade.&quot; Yea sure! Sounds like Big Education Greed!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:14 p.m.

Pathetic. Let's not single out U of M, Eastern Michigan University is also on the list. The alumni use to call for donations but I told them to take our names off the list as we already contributed!


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4 p.m.

Please read the article folks. It clearly places the blame on dramatically reduced funding. This is net cost to the students after all aid is subtracted, not total cost. The tuition and expenses are in line with the rest of the country but only two states, Rhode Island and New Mexico, have cut funding more than Michigan. The headline was written to grab attention but, according to the article, it is very misleading. It could just have well read &quot;Michigan Tops in Cuts to Education.&quot;

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:57 p.m.

&quot;U-M Provost Philip Hanlon told Bridge Magazine that the high cost of a Michigan public education is due to &quot;lost appropriations&quot; over the past decade.' Only valid comparatively if the &quot;lost appropriations&quot; are proportionally greater here than anywhere else. Because I don't think we are unique in the &quot;lost appropriations&quot; game.

Craig Lounsbury

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:45 p.m.

Busted.... For some reason I didn't see the &quot;Read the full article&quot; link .


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:01 p.m.

Read the whole article. Only two states have reduced appropriations more.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:55 p.m.

<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;Michigan's average compensation for full-time faculty, for example, increased from $122,943 per full-time position in 2005-2006 to $141,753 in 2009-2010, a 15 percent increase over four years.&quot; Awful lot of administrative overhead too.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:24 p.m.

The average income in Michigan over that same time period fell $4,000.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:33 p.m.

It may be perceived as fair, but most of the private sector took a hit. why not the public. The profs are more than welcome to try out the private sector. They can come back to teach the kids about life after that And what is this will COLA increases no matter what - pretty soon we will all be millionares.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:10 p.m.

Which is 3.5% annually. Your figures are skewed by the high number of med school an law school faculty. A new hire in LSA is lucky to get half of that salary. What do you believe is a fair salary for someone with 10-12 years of education and a Ph.D., M.D., or both? Would it be advantageous to let them all just go elsewhere and staff a world class research institution with adjunct faculty? The salaries are still on the low end among highly regarded research universities.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:54 p.m.

U of M could really care less about the cost that they pass on to the students and their family's. When you have 7 applicants for every 1 freshman opening there are no shortage of people as people drop out because they can't afford &quot;Harvard&quot; of the west. When they finally raise the prices enough that they can't get enough applicants then maybe they will worry about things like the the 29% raises some deans got and cost containment

hut hut

Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:38 p.m.

You're wrong Kade. Nice try at the preemptive strike. It IS about overpaid execs and admins, public and private who advocate for lower wages for those at the bottom all while they blackmail with their &quot;we're worth it and you must do it to stay competitive&quot; mantra.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 7:12 p.m.

Hut Hut- So, for example. instead of talking about the 40 million that was cut from the U's budget in 2011, we want to instead focus on the 6.5million the university pays it's top 15 executives? Would you like to oversee the U-M Health system? A system that In July 2011, finished its 15th straight fiscal year in the black, with an operating margin of 2.1 percent ($44.1 million) on revenues of $2.1 billion. In 2010, the Hospitals and Health Centers attained an operating margin of 3.21 percent ($63.2 million) on revenues of about $1.97 billion. As a not-for-profit entity, UMHS uses positive operating margins to fund continued advances in patient care, education, research, and the facilities needed to support these functions. Yes, it's terrible that someone makes 700k to oversee that insignifcant project. I don't disagree that wage inequities exist at a university level. But overall, I think there is vigorous work done across the university (also by comparing to peer schools) to analyze and reclassify positions and salaries to be more reflective of COL standards, educational accomplishment and in light of these budget constraints to make things more equitable across the general university system. I'm sick of ppl using the top 15 or so ppl at a world-class research institution as a benchmark for excess when in reality, the programs they administer and oversee are worth literally millions and millions more than what they are compensated. It seems to me, that in general, universities, on a whole, attempt more parity than most places of employment especially in light of the revenue and hundreds of ther benefits they bring to the state.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 3:36 p.m.

Before this becomes a rant about salaries, let's not forget the more salient point of decreased state aid to institutes of higher education for the past decade or longer. Further, before folks spout out about Deans and Presidents giving up their salaries, let's recognize that that's never going to happen and move on. save a lot of space on this thread. Although, also recall that Mary Sue Coleman did request a freeze on her salary in 2009. So maybe stranger things have happened.


Wed, Jan 11, 2012 : 4:23 a.m.

State funding directly to universities. I am trying to find the link again, after having spent the day travelling.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:56 p.m.

Don, I'm not sure I understand your point. University-provided student aid or private??


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:52 p.m.

I am unconvinced that U-M is draining taxpayer resources vis a vis certain salaries as the comment above implied. Decreased state aid has many reprocussions to the institution--both in the short and long term. However, the university continues its furious output of economic and academic/scientific production and offers SE michigan hope in an otherwise middling economy. Looking at the figures, the pro is stronger than the con. The work done in the past 8 years to keep U-M operating in the black by MSC, the regents and budget and finance at the U. unlike som of its peer institutions, is the result of well-thought out analysis. Those who are hung up on a baker's dozen salaries' are barking up the wrong tree, IMO. But still, we'll continue to hear about this again and again. I've already commented on that issue below, so will refrain from repeating.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 9:23 p.m.

Kade - If I read the tables correctly, Michigan is in the top half of states in terms of per student aid to public universities. I have a flaky connection, so I need to do more research, but I think your gut reaction is not valid given the facts.


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 6:50 p.m.

Cinnabar7071-- Ah, because irate ranting about somebody's salary will fix the problem, right? Regarding the oft-handled taxpayer argument. Don't take my word on it...<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> &quot;...estimate[d] that in the former case, U-M's contribution to the state economy is 66,000 jobs, $3.5 billion in personal income, and $271 million in state tax revenue. In the latter case, the impact is 41,000 jobs, $2.3 billion in personal income, and $175.5 million in state tax revenue, all of which would be entirely lost from the state economy absent U-M. Thus, U-M returns to the State most of the public funds invested in its operation. &quot;


Tue, Jan 10, 2012 : 4:37 p.m.

It's funny how even you know what the problem is, but choose to blame other things. With the raises they get I feel they shouldn't get 1 penny from the tax payers.