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Posted on Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 4:37 p.m.

How does a Michigan college education stack up? New scorecard compares state colleges to national peers

By Kellie Woodhouse


University of Michigan's campus.

Joe Tobianski |

Want to know how a Michigan public college compares to schools in California or Texas?

It just got a whole lot easier to evaluate the essential performance of Michigan's 15 public colleges against their peers in the nation's 49 other states.

The non-profit Business Leaders for Michigan this week released a scorecard outlining how Michigan's 15 public universities compete with their peers in a swath of areas from state funding to enrollment to administrative spending to student performance.

According to the group's analysis, Michigan ranked 37th in per-student support for its public colleges. Michigan in 2009-10 awarded $5,683 per full-time student enrolled in a state college. The state ranked 37th in U.S. in higher education spending.

Meanwhile, it ranked fifth in the nation for the number of degrees produced by public universities. At 62,598 degrees, Michigan trailed behind California, Florida, Texas and New York. The state ranked fourth nationally in producing critical skill degrees, which include science, technology, engineering and math fields.

The scorecard also allows users to isolate how individual universities compare with their peers.

The University of Michigan, for example, is compared with other "very high research" volume public schools.

According to the database, U-M receives $8,357 in state funding per student, compared to the national average of $9,870 per student at other very high-volume research public universities.

Thirteen of Michigan's 15 public universities are below their peer average for state support.

The school spends $20,410 in instructional spending per student and $3,935 in administrative spending per student, compared to average per-student instructional spending of $12,112 and administrative spending of $2,486 at peer universities.

U-M's 6-year graduation is 90 percent, compared to an average graduation rate of 68 percent at peer schools.

The cost of attendance at U-M is $25,000 per year, versus an average cost of $21,275 among peers.

However the average U-M net cost—or amount a student pays after factoring in grants and scholarships— is $15,129 per student, compared to an average net cost of $13,366 per year among peer schools.

Ten of Michigan's 15 public colleges have a higher in-state net price than their peers.

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



Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 7:08 p.m.

Not sure, all of the students being distracted by "cat people" on central campus......yak!

Kellie Woodhouse

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:56 p.m.

Hi everyone! I wrote this article mainly to highlight the service of the new website, and used some U-M stats as examples. If I were to have included everything, I would have basically just regurgitated the report. That said, I hear your concerns about not including information relating to EMU and I will keep these comments in mind for future articles. Thanks for all the suggestions and keeping me sharp.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:35 p.m. has an article about universities in the state of Michigan. It provides a clear link to said report. Said link will let anyone pick any of the universities in the report to see all the stats. Total time to access this information is about 6 seconds. But the University of Michigan is summarized by the news outlet in Ann Arbor in the main article. What a shocking idea that those people reading might just be most interested in the school that is actually located in Ann Arbor... Is there no end to this thing called common sense?


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 11:11 p.m.

A pure UofM promotional article what one would expect from an Ann Arbor paper.


Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:46 p.m.

I would think it would be useful to include EMU and MSU in this article. Of cours it appears, rather then just write the information in the article itself, you have just chosen to let your readers do the research. . . .

Steve Krause

Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 2:24 p.m.

I agree completely. When I first read this article and saw nothing other than U of M stuff, I figured that perhaps there just wasn't any detail about EMU or MSU or wherever available in the report. Then I simply clicked on the link. I can understand the emphasis on "the university" since this is after all an Ann Arbor first publication and the U of M is the biggest player in town. But given that EMU is less than 10 miles away from U of M and claims to cover things having to do with Ypsilanti too, you would think that the reporter would have at least peeked at the scorecard for EMU. That strikes me as pretty lazy journalism, frankly.

Alejandro Islas-M

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 10:06 p.m.

So I'm guessing the only University in the Ann Arbor-Ypsi area that matters is UofM. Any information about other universities like Eastern or even Concordia? Not even Michigan State, UofM's state perennial state rival is mentioned. Some statewide focus would be welcome.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:10 p.m.

To put salt in the wound you opened, a recent Wall Street Journal poll rated Madison, WI #2 in the nation for well-run city governments, in addition to having a big airport. Ann Arbor wasn't on the list. I know how much UM and Ann Arbor love polls to polish their crown, so I thought I'd add that to the list.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:41 a.m.

I also was shocked to see an Ann Arbor publication talking about an institution in Ann Arbor...who would have guessed that a school, located in Ann Arbor, would be mentioned by a publication in Ann Arbor.


Fri, Feb 15, 2013 : 1:12 a.m.

Are you serious? AA is the center of the universe.

Kellie Woodhouse

Thu, Feb 14, 2013 : 9:54 p.m.

From looking at the website, has anyone found compelling figures I didn't highlight? Feel free to share them in the comments.