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Posted on Tue, May 24, 2011 : 12:28 p.m.

State universities to have state funding cut by 15 percent after decision by House-Senate committee

By Kyle Feldscher

State universities will have their funding cut by 15 percent after a decision by House-Senate conference committee that was passed by the full Senate, according to a report in The Detroit News.

The decision is a part of the reconciling of the various budget bills passed in each chamber earlier in the month. The House of Representatives is expected to pass the budget thanks to the Republican majority.

A House-Senate conference committee also approved a Department of Human Services budget that limits welfare benefits to 48 months and takes a yearly $80 clothing allowance away from 124,000 children. That budget is expected to be approved by the Senate this afternoon.

The cuts to higher education are basically what Gov. Rick Snyder proposed in February. The cut will cost Eastern Michigan University about $15 million and will lower the University of Michigan's state aid to $268 million — the lowest amount in 20 years, according to university officials.

The funding cut raised fears that tuition at state universities will have to be raised to make up the difference.

The cuts have faced intense protests since they were first proposed, including at the U-M commencement ceremony when Snyder spoke to a crowd of about 40,000 at Michigan Stadium.

To read the full report in The Detroit News, click here.

Kyle Feldscher covers K-12 education for He can be reached at or you can follow him on Twitter.


Kai Petainen

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 5:07 a.m.

i don't know the answer to this... but i have to wonder... (and before i get hate mail, please know that i am a fan of education) here's my question: is higher education in a bubble? or was it in a bubble? or is it not in a bubble?


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 11:17 p.m.

I'm not sure if "bubble" is the right word, but I think you're on to something. Neither the Governor, nor the State of Michigan, is raising tuition. Each respective University is raising tuition. The real questions the consumers (students/parents) need to ask themselves are whether the cost of tuition is worth it and what is the University spending the money upon. Education is an investment and, like any investment, one needs to calculate a return on investment.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:04 a.m.

another fabulous acorn column! I love the "intense protests at commencement" line. yeah, it was super-intense: out of a crowd of 100,000, almost 12 whole people turned their backs on the gov. wow. intense. look, I work for the U. my daughter is a college student at Eastern. I don't love this either, but we have to do something or the state won't have any money, and then nobody gets anything.

Kyle Feldscher

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 9 p.m.

Sara- That was, in fact, the protest I was referring to. Thanks.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:59 a.m.

rulieg, the protest was outside the stadium. Some students skipped graduation altogether to participate.

John Q

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 1:40 a.m.

"we have to do something or the state won't have any money, and then nobody gets anything." Giving businesses a $1.8 billion tax break = no money? You work at the B-School?

Richard Lake

Wed, May 25, 2011 : 12:43 a.m.

The Republican Party cares about people. Tax the pensions of our retired. Reduce all education funding. Oh, and use the money saved to cut the taxes of big business. The article illustrates well why thousands of demonstrators were in Lansing last Saturday. Many joined the effort to recall Gov. Rick Snyder. Readers may learn more about the recall effort at <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 10:22 p.m.

It's pretty clear that where a U of M school has wealthy alumni, they need little, if any help from the state. You will note that the professional schools of medicine, law and business have the most up-to-date facilities, with at least two of them having been financed by donations from wealthy alumni. You will also note that the athletic department never seems to be at a loss for money to finance the newest and the best athletic facilities. Contrast this, if you will, with the lowly School of Education. It sits surrounded by the Law School and the Business School, each of which has received a bounty of alumni support to provide wonderful new facilities. The School of Social Work, adjacent to the School of Education, is also relatively new, and an exceptionally attractive place to pursue a degree. The School of Education occupies essentially the same physical space it did when I was a U of M student in the 1960s. The School of Architecture and the Engineering School, both of which were a stone's throw from the Ed School when I was a student, have moved to new and improved quarters on North Campus. I guess the School of Education, graduates of which are in the cross-hairs of today's public policy makers, cannot look to the state for needed physical improvements, but must turn to its outrageously wealthy alumni --- those terribly overpaid teachers now being asked to help solve our state's budgetary crisis.

Peter Jameson

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 9:49 p.m.

Thats a good start. keep on cutting!

Jimmy Olsen

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:53 p.m.

Check out the UM salaries here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> I can easily see where 15% can come from. Little benefit adjustment to boot. Ladies and gentlemen of academia, welcome to the real world (not the MTV version). And please, don't tell me you'll lose the &quot;leaders and best&quot; if you don't continue to pay some of the outrageous salaries. There are many waiting in the wings to be the next &quot;leaders and best&quot;. Thanks Rick, keep it coming.....


Thu, May 26, 2011 : 4:27 p.m.

Jimmy, it amazes me how cons flipflop on every issue that Rupert tells them to. Given your logic that, since they are high paid, professors should have their pay cut, corporate CEOs ought to make about $20,000 a year. Personally, I'd agree with you but your man Rupert would be VERY ANGRY.


Wed, May 25, 2011 : 2:21 p.m.

I think that pointing out a few salaries is misleading. While I have always been puzzled about the law school salaries myself, I don't find anything else unusual. People are paid according to what they generate. If a research professor in medicine brings in millions in grants I don't think that 250K is out of line. If he goes elsewhere that grant money is lost. Is the president's salary of 500K out of line with the CEO of a $4B organization with 40,000 employees? I doubt it. I would be more outraged that Michael Eisner made $1B in a decade while returning no equity to his shareholders. I think that people at the university are at least paid according to the value they bring. Check out <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> for a list of 40,000 salaries and you will find them quite reasonable and in line with the money that the individuals generate for the university.

Roy Munson

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:19 p.m.

Time to cut the waste and get spending under control. What a concept! Unfortunately, they will just raise tutition and make college a bad choice for even more people.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:09 p.m.

Kyle: What ever happend to objective articles? &quot;budget that limits welfare benefits to 48 months and takes a yearly $80 clothing allowance away from 124,000 children. &quot; Out of everything in the bill, thats the part you point to in your short article? It must be hard to write things like &quot;mental or physical disability, who are caring for a disabled family member, domestic violence victims and women in advance pregnancy or who recently have given birth would be exempt from the 48-month lifetime limit. &quot;.. No, that wouldn't fit your political agenda.. This is why people are ill informed. Their sources of news are so one sided, the don't have the choice to think for themselves. From The Detroit News: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:03 p.m.

The State looses 10% of it's population, 20-30% of its jobs, I guess it's time to start cutting the budget! Thanks for the reckless spending in Lansing.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 10:40 p.m.

Yes, I'm sure the &quot;reckless spending&quot; in Lansing had everything to do with our loss of population and jobs.

zip the cat

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:53 p.m.

Any university with BILLIONS in the stock market or in the bank does not need any type of hand out from the state period. I don't care what the money is earmarked or spoken for. Its total bull they get state aid of any kind period


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 10:41 p.m.



Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:32 p.m.

My late father used to say that you can't straighten teeth with a hammer. It appears that the current elected officials of our great state never received such sage counsel. Since the legislature and governor's office find it necessary to use a hammer on the budget, I'd like to offer another area that could be cut. I believe that legislative salaries and funding for their offices and the governors office (not just his salary, yes I know he is forfeiting his $160K) should incur the same cost cutting measures they're expecting of others. These are not business that bring jobs to the state, so they shouldn't receive the same generosity shown to the business community. Michigan legislators are the 3rd highest paid in the nation behind California and New York; almost $72,000 per year plus a generous $10,200 per year expense account (no questions asked &amp; no receipts required). Nearby states OH, &amp; IL legislators make less than $60K, OH under $50K and IN less than $12K per year. In addition to that, republicans receive $100,000 more than democrats to run their offices because they're in the majority. As a matter of fact, it might be time to look into that part-time legislature again. With all the cutting they're doing, there'll be that much less work for them to do.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:54 p.m.

right, like those legislative members are going to cut their own pay and benefits. I agree with you, don't get me wrong, but they clearly aren't going to do that to themselves. Heck, I think they should be part time employees, and the business in lansing only take places at certain times throughout the year. Cut pay to a part time wage and offer minimal benefits, or what a prt time worker gets


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 6:04 p.m.

Over her 8 years in office, Granholm continually cut funding to higher education. In fact, she hardly was able to approach her education goals at all. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> Some things are not the product of effort or desire but are demanded by the circumstances of the day. I have little doubt that Snyder is a &quot;liberal&quot; GOP. He's not ideological and would, in a minute, spend on things like education. But, we are in a crisis in this state. We no longer have the luxury of federal stimulus funds to balance state budgets. Those were funds that were intended to promote new and improved infrastructure projects as well as other &quot;shovel-ready&quot; projects. Yet, most states used them to offset taxes lost in property devaluations and job losses. The reality is that the State budget has a largely eroded source of income and huge expenses. Even with some recovery of the auto industry, the whole of the economy is still fragile and suspect. It's impossible for Snyder to not adversely affect many in taking drastic and different measures. It is simplistic for him or anyone to think that tax policies will attract businesses to Michigan. However, I think what Snyder is trying to do is simplify and lower the business tax system to keep from repelling businesses that find other reasons to locate here. And there are many reasons. The auto industry rebound is the kind of thing that will attract business. The dedication of UM, MSU, WSU to create a tech and medicine corridor from Detroit to Grand Rapids can attract business. Businesses who find reasons to consider Michigan will be able to look at the tax system and find it more of a level playing field that isn't punitive to some while rewarding those who cater to the latest political canard. We can only hope he is correct.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

People want to make things involving government so complicated, but it seems like it's all one big, massive shell game. This isn't meant to be perfectly accurate (and it is of course, simplified...gasp!), but consider the state cuts funding to universities, universities in turn increase tuition, those who can afford to pay tuition (and aren't subsidized in one form or another) pay more, the university gets its money anyway, and the financially stable person who could actually afford tuition funds it through the university instead of paying increased income or other taxes. I think it would be neat if we could simplify government (don't believe anyone who tells you its more complicated than it appears), such that all could realize that the fighting, showmanship, lobbying, etc, for the most part, is just one big massive shell game, the net effect of which is that nothing really changes in any significant way for you and me. There are of course exceptions (civil rights, etc), but the truly productive matters are in the 1%. What if we could save all the costs involved in the shell game, and just focus on that 1% that actually means something for you and me? On the flip side, maybe things change extremely slowly (so slow we don't realize change is occurring), and that's by design to ensure America does not go too far down an ill-advised path.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 10:43 p.m.

A little more detail, Peter. Do you know something the rest of us should know. If so, please share it.

Peter Jameson

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 9:53 p.m.

The university has a spending issue.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:35 p.m.

Seriously? These -------- in the legislature voted to keep their lifetime health benefits and took away annual $80 clothing allowances from poor kids to pay for it? How do they look themselves in the mirror?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:58 p.m.

legislators atleast had to work for the state for 2 terms before earning their benefits. What did the people on welfare do for the state to earn their unlimited benefits? What is going to motivate them to get get off assistance?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 6:40 p.m.

There are no mirrors. Vampires can't be seen in one.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:28 p.m.

Provost Hanlon told faculty members that out of state students would be increased from 35% to 39% to make up for the cuts in appropriations. That is about 1,000 spots for Michigan students that we will probably never get back. The legislature used to keep out of state student enrollment to less than 30% but they don't seem to think that is important anymore.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:34 p.m.

Where were Provost Hanlon's comments made public? Or is this hearsay?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:12 p.m.

Re the University funding cut: The universities are flush with money. Let them use some of it. Re the welfare limitation of 48 months: Some may need it longer, however, there are many who have felt pretty darn comfortable on their backsides for many years and have made no attempt to rectify the situation. They need to be put on notice that free check is not limitless. Better start doing for yourself. Re the clothing allowance: Some is probably justified but I can imagine there has to be a substantial amount of abuse of the system. Recall Rick? He is finally doing something that needed to be done for many years. Too bad it needs to be implimented so quickly. Past governors and legislatures have gotten us in this mess. Maybe they should suffer.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Now Jen, can't figure out how my last reply violated any rules --- your explanation notwithstanding.

Jen Eyer

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 8:04 p.m.

Comments were removed for name-calling.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:45 p.m.

Really? The universities are flush with money? You haven't heard a word coming from the informed, concerned leaders of EMU, WMU, CMU, WSU, NMU, Mich Tech, etc. You can only see the football stadium in front of you and believe that there must be money coming from a fountain. Please gather some real information before making grand sweeping statements about something of which you have no knowledge. Would you care to reflect on the abuse to which you refer in the clothing allowance?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:46 p.m.

I agree...let's invest in Halliburton...turn the deficit right around/


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

Yes, those darned orphans keep gaming the system with the $80 they were getting. Why get clean clothes that fit when you can invest the money in Haliburton?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:11 p.m.

Everybody knows that orphan children and university students got us into this financial mess, and finally they will have to participate in the shared sacrifice along with other predatory lenders and job-outsources, such as retirees and the fire department. Those orphans and their demand for new clothes- they just keep growing bigger and bigger and wanting bigger and bigger clothes to accommodate their annual increase in size. Now they will just have to stay smaller so they will fit into their old clothes. The state should stop feeding them so much, it is only encouraging them to grow. Finally Mary Sue Coleman can get rid of those expensive programs like History, which don't make any money for the university, and focus more on football and selling the U-M logo. Who needs history when it is irrelevant to government decisions? A strong government needs to dismantle democracy (a la EFM) and to ensure an ignorant constituency by killing those pesky public education systems which seek to empower citizens.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:40 p.m.

Yeah, fursure and they eat too much also. But the gov's workin' hard at fixin' that.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:36 p.m.

Sara, thanks for the well-written, satirical commentary. I'm betting you were a product of our public school system.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:45 p.m.

we all know that it wasn't just the orphans and students that got us into this mess, I'm pretty sure it was former Michigan Governor George Bush? Better not say anything bad about Jenny...


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:43 p.m.

You are so right! I hate football weekends...and history...c'mon, no one learns from it so it keeps repeating itself...And we all know generational welfare is a time honored family learned skill that should be applauded.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

Why history is quite relevant. It can show you exactly how things got into the mess as it currently stands. Too bad more politicians aren't required to take history classes.


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 4:46 p.m.

Maybe Slick's teapublican yes men in state house and senate are big winners in the $1.8billion tax cut to entitled, wealthy business owners? Or maybe Slick has personally given the state house and senate teapublicans lobotomies. Other than cutting K-12 education, which they already have done, what could be more destructive to the future of this state than reducing funding to state universities? I know that Slick and his yes men probably don't have to worry about sending their kids to a state school. Looks like that recall effort can't get here fast enough and it better be expanded.

John Q

Tue, May 24, 2011 : 7:18 p.m.

&quot;That tax cut also goes to middle class, struggling business owners, trying to maintain their payrolls.&quot; Business owners get a 90% cut in taxes on the backs of everyone else. Thanks Governor!


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:39 p.m.

explain to me how a $31.5+/- million dollar reduction in state aid should impact tuition when Crisler is going to have $54 million in rennovations...oh yeah that's right, the tax free University's Athletic Program doesn't turn over all the money it makes does it? Why don't they cut the rennovations to $22 million and give the University the rest?


Tue, May 24, 2011 : 5:15 p.m.

&quot;..... $1.8billion tax cut to entitled, wealthy business owners?&quot; That tax cut also goes to middle class, struggling business owners, trying to maintain their payrolls. Also, I think &quot;teapublicans&quot; is spelled with a &quot;k&quot;.