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Posted on Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 6:38 p.m.

U-M President Mary Sue Coleman on Snyder's budget proposal: 'Why should we get so little?'

By Kellie Woodhouse

As the state Legislature reviews Gov. Rick Snyder's budget proposal in Lansing, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman lambasted it before a group of faculty members Monday afternoon.

"We have gone in a decade from a top 10 state in higher education support to a bottom 10 state. We've raced to the bottom," Coleman said.

"Clearly the state has been under financial pressure.... But our prisons budgets have grown pretty darn dramatically, so you have to ask what’s more valuable" she continued. "We have taken the brunt (of budget cuts). The state has balanced its budget on the back of higher education."

Sndyer's proposal allots $1.4 billion of the state's $48.2 billion fiscal 2012-13 budget to higher education, up $36 million, or 3 percent, from the $1.34 fiscal 2011-12 allotment. Prisons are set to receive $1.6 billion and currently house 43,000 inmates.

The governor proposes that the $36 million increase be tied to a formula that recognizes universities for increasing graduation rates, the number of degrees awarded in critical skill areas, the number of Pell Grants awarded to enrolled students and tuition restraint.

With a six-year graduation rate of 89.7 percent —a rate that's already one of the highest in the country and not likely to significantly improve,— the lowest rate of Pell Grants at any university in the state and an average yearly tuition increase of 5.5 percent over the past 10 years, U-M doesn't fare well under Snyder's formula.

"If that’s the metric then we’re sunk," Coleman said bluntly.

In fact, U-M is to receive a 1.4 increase if Snyder's proposal is passed as-is, the second-lowest incremental increase in the state. The highest increase, a 7.6 percent bump, is planned for Grand Valley State University.

Nonetheless, U-M is set to receive $3.9 million in extra funds, the second-highest dollar amount of the $36 million increase. The school's total appropriations are drafted at $272.7 million.

U-M received roughly $368 million in state appropriations in 2002, the year Coleman began her tenure at the university. That year $1.85 billion was allotted to higher education and corrections was given $1.69 billion.

"It's tantamount to figuring out what the best diet is for a chicken and then taking that chicken feed and giving it to your very expensive thoroughbred racing horse," said Kimberlee Kearfott, vice chair of the faculty-run Senate Advisory Committee on University Affairs and an engineering professor. "You need different types of metrics for different types of universities."

Coleman agreed, saying that it makes no sense for the Legislature to compare U-M to lower tier schools and then for U-M to lose out in the process.

"We should be worried with how we compare to Princeton and Yale, not (state universities)," Coleman said. "Why would you want to penalize your most successful university in the state? It makes no sense to me.... Why should we get so little?"

As she has before, Coleman said the metrics are "very backward-looking" and would work better if they rewarded graduate education and entrepreneurship. Yet she stressed strongly her opposition to a set formula for doling out higher education dollars.

"We’ve been proposing alternatives with every breath that we have," Coleman said, saying that she saw formula funding models go awry in her time as an administrator in New Mexico and Iowa. "Formulas worry me, because I’ve seen it happen in other places that they say 'Well we can't fund the formula so we’ll just fund it at a certain percentage.' The formula means nothing."

Coleman is going to Washington D.C. on Tuesday to speak about higher education funding before Congress. In addition to addressing dwindling state funding, she will also address shrinking federal support, she said.

During the SACUA meeting, Coleman referenced President Barack Obama's January speech in Ann Arbor about reining in college costs. Obama said then that states need to reinvest in higher education and that universities need to quit letting tuition skyrocket. Coleman said the university has tried to cut operational costs, but has had no choice but to raise tuition.

"I can get beat up all everybody wants to about tution increases, but when you have this kind of disinvestment... there’s still a gap," she said.

Coleman criticized Snyder's budget proposal before the Michigan House Appropriation Higher Education Subcommittee earlier this month. More committee testimony from other university presidents is expected before the Legislature finalizes next year's budget.

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


ralph mcgraw

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 9:08 p.m.

"So little"???? UM has a $15 billion endowment and continues to raise tuition, continues to be a gigantic black hole sucking up every piece of property in Ann Arbor, eroding the tax base which puts the onus on the property owners with higher property taxes!!!! This University continues to be a bloated pig run by out-of-touch-with-reality administrators who have no idea what the "little guy/gal" struggling to simply "maintain" have to go through. Geez!


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 7:09 p.m.

Before criticizing Dr. Coleman for wanting the state to invest more money in the University of Michigan, you should ask how much of a benefit the state receives for every dollar invested into the university. It is common for a state to receive a good return on its investments into a Research University. It would be of interest for ann to find out how much money the state receives in return of investment for every 1 dollar invested in the University of Michigan. If the state receives a greater return on its investments in research universities, then why not invest as much as possible in UM, MSU and WSU instead of relying a "formula" to determine funding?

Macabre Sunset

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:33 p.m.

Maybe Mary Sue should be a little more introspective. Universities, especially the ones with elite status, have become stale in the last 20-30 years. There's no diversity of thought. Students aren't being taught critical thinking any more. Just indoctrination into a specific politically correct mindset. Employers have obviously noticed. Hiring is slow even though profits have returned. We've never had a "jobless recovery" before, and I think managers like Mary Sue Coleman are partially responsible. When universities aren't doing their jobs, they should receive less money. And when you indoctrinate your students to oppose the political party running the state, you will receive less money.

say it plain

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 6:05 p.m.

That's a fascinating perspective on the 'jobless recovery'...I mean, it seems patently silly at first look, but are you actually claiming that despite returned (and in some cases record) corporate profits, there isn't heavy hiring going on because the graduates of colleges these days aren't deemed 'worth hiring'?! I'd love to hear more, or see sources, seriously. I'm imagining that Coleman is perhaps not without a role in reduced US hiring, but more because of her bragged-about enrollment of students from China and elsewhere than about substandard or 'doctrinaire' education of US citizens.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:43 p.m.

The problem is that UM sees itself as an entity apart from the State, too insular and focused and run by a very small subset of the population. It could be a great resource but it must reach out to learn not teach or advise the "other" folks if it truly wants to figure out how to be an asset for the State. Also let's not blame everything on management without looking at the Board of Regents, they are not bystanders in this.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:41 p.m.

President Coleman could have used a better tactic than this. But her job description includes promoting the university she leads. I think she should be concentrating on the elitist policies of Gov. Richard Dale Snyder and his Republican dominated legislature: which are directed at under-funding public education and over regulating public education until it breaks down completely. In that regard: I think revealing where our governor and all elected officials in Michigan send their kids to school is pertinent. That includes R.D. Snyder's three kids of course. But I agree: Coleman's solicitation of President Obama's call for reducing the cost of education is self-serving when U of M is raising tuition (from already staggering levels) and the university is sitting on $8 billion in endowments. (I believe that's the largest endowment among all state colleges - nationally.) Then for her to object to the reduced amount U of M will get from the state is, to say the least, puzzling and a poor tactic. Public schools suffer from a crucial weakness: they are mandated by government to concentrate only on test scores. Experts tell us that such a system works to limit teaching of how to think and reason. If the primary goal is to get kids & young adults to simply transcribe answers from books and the utterances of teachers: then those kids will suffer when it comes to reasoning and working on their own to arrive at conclusions. As it is, private education outstrips public education (mostly, not always) in teaching kids how to investigate and think things through. I don't believe the answer is in letting private schools "win" this competition. I think the answer is to eliminate political / ideological hostility toward public education. Private schools get their money from parents: who CAN afford such costs w/o the equalization through taxation. What about the other 90%?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

I actually think the state hasn't gone far enough. I think they should require a 5 year tuition freeze and increases after that should not exceed the increase in cost of living for ever as a condition of receiving state dollars. The school could do with some belt tightening.

Martin Church

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:39 p.m.

hey coleman, come out to the real work. We have taken 20% pay cuts and loss of benefits. In the meantime you have a huge bankroll. It's time you start to take the same cuts as the rest of. An athletic income of over several million dollars. lets change your priorities. cut the fake classes which require no brains and prompts a political agenda and get back to education. Let's start with the president of U of M and take a 20% cut in pay


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

Does a single person reading Ann think that UofM should get more money than they got ? So far it seems it's 100% against Mary Sue. That speaks volumes.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:52 p.m.

In spite of May Sue's boast about gaining each year on Harvard's investment portfolio, she still claims poverty. Mary Sue reminds me of Hattie Green, the Witch of Wall Street. Wealthy beyond words but renowned for her frugality with her money, while expecting charity from others.

Stephen Landes

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:30 p.m.

I continue to be astounded that the metric for graduation rate is based on SIX YEARS to complete an undergraduate degree. This is something that used to be four or four and a half years. So what has happened in undergraduate education that now requires nearly 50% more time to complete a degree? Are incoming students so ill-prepared that they need to take make up work to begin the "real" work? Are students so indecisive that they lose credits while bouncing around the U "finding themselves"? What is causing this extended period required for graduation? Surely there is a huge cost reduction opportunity available here by understanding the root causes of this longer time in college and then addressing those causes systematically. Reduce the time required to graduate and you will reduce the number of courses slots that need to be made available; you'll reduce the costs for room and board; maybe be able to reduce the number of faculty, instructors, and staff.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

When it comes to undergraduate programs there are a few factors with regard to length of program. Transfer students don't normally complete in normal cycle. Students that switch programs tended to go longer depending on the change. Financial issues. Co-Op / work study programs. Statistically based on what I found on Google real quick a majority do complete their undergraduate degree in 4 years. The six year number seems to be a blur with those continuing for a 2nd degree or masters.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:29 p.m.

Adam Smith had a lot to say about the phenomenon at universities - they are there to serve the university and the faculty within. If students benefit, it's a happy coincidence. And as far as extending the time for undergrad requirements, that's not new to the UM. At the turn of 20th Century, the law school added two extra years onto the degree program, and before it only required a HS diploma. And then, later, they added an undergrad degree. Why? Because they could, I guess. Many academic course work requirements are invented by academics, for the benefit of the institution, not scholorship.

Mike K

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:49 p.m.

Interesting, someone voted the comment above down. They must want a blank check for education. Staying on topic, Naomi Schaefer Riley wrote, The Faculty Lounges... Check it out: According to her, there is a lot more "value" to extract from education / governmental complex.

Mike K

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:14 p.m.

"Pro Education" doesn't mean that our State Universities need a blank check from its citizen taxpayers. You keep draining your citizen taxpayers, and watch what happens. How much does UM have socked away?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

Doesn't really matter how much State aid they get, if a shortfall, the answer is most always raise fees! Don't consider any cuts, all our high priced students can just pay more, after all, if they can afford to come here, they can afford to always pay more.......

G. Orwell

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

It is very simple to resolve this problem. State of Michigan - drastically reduce the prison population. People committing victimless crimes (i.e. smoking marijuana and prostitution) should not be incarcerated. Rather, give fines for the infractions. US has the highest prison population in the world. Do we really have democracy in this country? Or, an illusion of democracy? U of M - reduce your massive spending. If you cannot provide the best education with the highest tuition rate for a public school, you are doing something terribly wrong. Stop raising tuition rates. By continuously raising tuition, you are helping to create a two class system. How about lowering tuition for once. Set a great example for rest of the country. Be the leader.

Jimmy McNulty

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:05 p.m.

Coleman is lucky it is not a cut in funds. At the end of the day, you are getting MORE funds than last year. Two words: tuition restraint. Do like every other entity, family or business, in America: make do with less.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11:44 a.m.

Bottom line, U of M needs to instill the value of a dollar to their students, faculty, and staff. While the town goes to ---- in a hand basket, the university continues to live in their ivory towers of perky dorms and apartments. Yes, the U does make Ann Arbor more than a blip on the map, no mistaking that, we'd all be a corn community otherwise. But they also are a resource sucking entity. Are they pitching in for the Stadium road project? The road that most certainly gets hammered by their sporting traffic? Do they pitch in for police and fire protection? I see many of our AA's police force out directing traffic on football days. If they want more money, then it should be mandated that said monies go for actually decreasing the tuition, enabling more resident kids the chance for a good education, and not for salaries that in this day and age, are outlandish. Students can live in modest dorms, not stylized apartments - help prepare these students, (who are pushing for the student load forgiveness bill, by the way) to live in the real world. It's great to have the opportunity for a good education, but not if students decide afterwards they can't pay the bill, and further want to extend the free ride. And honestly, judging from working with many U of M students, they aren't all that smart. Perhaps a refresher course on spelling, writing, and counting money (basic) math, might be in order.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 5:33 a.m.

And as far as the Stadium Road construction goes, first you said the State is paying, then you said the Feds are paying the majority. Which is it? You are probably right; no other public or private university routinely pays for road or bridge repairs. How many other schools have stadiums that seat 107K-plus? None. How many other schools get the revenue the U gets from broadcasting rights? Not more than a few. The U rakes in the big, big bucks, as befitting it's "elite" status, right? But as the school with the biggest stadium in the country, why is it so absurd to suggest they might voluntarily kick something back to the state or the city, to offset the school's impact on surrounding infrastructure? The blatant arrogance is what's most offending to people, even the schools own employees, alumni and supporters. If you can't at least see that, you're not trying very hard.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 5:24 a.m.

If you want to talk about keeping up, start by recognizing that the state of Michigan has paid only a tiny fraction of the fire protection money due to communities, including Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti, for fire protection on the campuses of state schools. Then let's talk about UofM PD, which has the highest paid police chief in the entire state. I'm sure you'll make some attempt to defend that piece of ridiculousness, too, but it will be a waste of your time. Calling anyone who is offended at the way money is wasted by the university a "hater" or "jealous" or whatever is rather pathetic and juvenile, but if that's what makes you feel better, by all means.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 2:52 a.m.

Ypsilanti, I was replying specifically to the complaint that the UM should be paying for the Stadium Road and bridge work. Clearly the poster doesnt realize that Ann Arbor is not paying the majority share, but the Federal Govt is - using gasoline taxes collected by all drivers. UM should not be asked to contribute just as no other public or private educate institution contributes to road repair anywhere in the US. Please try to keep up.


Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 1:43 a.m.

Sparty, you talk about "the State" as if it were some independent, money-producing entity. Where exactly do you think that money originates? The U is a gigantic money-sucking spoiled brat with an entitlement mentality and I'm sick of throwing money at it so it can pretend it's an Ivy League school. Take your multi-billion dollar endowment and go private already. Please. Do us all a favor. Then you can spend all the money you manage to raise any way you want.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 8:06 p.m.

Students pay 100% of their housing ... they can live where and how they choose. They don't choose to live in modest dorms, so who are you to decide that's how they should ? Who are you to decide who is smart or what the curriculum should be? What are your credentials and education? You're apparently unaware that the State is responsible and does pay for all Public University Fire Protection and that the UM has it's security and Police Department. The State is also paying the majority share of the Stadium Road bridge replacement - did you know that? Before complaining about the education of others, it sounds like it's time to dust off that mirror.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:54 p.m.

"I see many of our AA's police force out directing traffic on football days." Just to keep things straight they do offset the police cost on game days. I believe they did bulk on some added things the city asked for last season.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11:29 a.m.

Well with close to 1400 Profs making $150K perhaps the Governor believes MSC needs to bring the hedge trimmer out. Many of us agree.[value]=150%2C000&fte[min]=&fte[max]=&title=professor&campus=UM_ANN-ARBOR&Year[0]=2011&fname=&lname=


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:02 p.m.

Based on the link provided it is actually 1397 out of 5429. 25.7% 1823 make $60,000 or less. 33.6%


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:11 p.m.

1,400 profs? WOW! Maybe a few of them are THAT good, but 1,400? What % of total profs is that?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11:22 a.m.

Sour grapes Mary Sue make the sweetest whine......


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11 a.m.

Michigan - one of only 4 states in the US where we spent more on PRISONS than on education. What does that tell people about our state? What does that tell potential employers? And yet you never hear one word about this craziness from Ann or our legislators. Just ignore it and criticize the universities, educators. Race to the bottom.

Mike K

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:06 p.m.

What does it tell us about our state? We have a lot of bad people who get in trouble and get caught. Yes, these people are taking us to the bottom.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 10:41 a.m.

Read a mistake in comment -- correction "but also saw a good deal a wasteful spending."


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 10:39 a.m.

One way to cut expenses at the UM is to reduce the excessive salaries for "administrators". The $100K plus for a social media is way too much. Also with all of the donations and endowments the UM receives tons of money -- that could be used -- oh forget they are probably used for something "specific". Worked at the UM which was a great job and afforded me a nice retirement, but also so a good deal of wasteful spending. I say UM take a much closer look at home and see where you can cut (not the little folks, but the big folks) and then maybe ask for more funds -- no more tuition increases -- it is become totally unaffordable.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 10:21 a.m.

When U of M dials down the "we gotta spend it or we can't prove we need it" approach, then maybe I'd be more sympathetic. Their wasteful spending is the worst I've EVER seen, and I've seen a LOT. Plus, they're STILL getting an increase. I mean, seriously. People need to start boycotting U of M. Great school and all, but jeez-oh-man. Also: "I can get beat up all everybody wants to about tution increases, but when you have this kind of disinvestment..." ..."I can get beat up all everybody wants to?" Really? And this lady represents the "racing horse" of higher education? If that wasn't a misquote (very possible, of course), that statement should have resulted in a $1 million aid reduction, effective immediately.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:07 a.m.

I think @sparty is the only person on this comment thread thinking this through. This greedy University is the only reason we have a city to call home. Why so much hate for it? Would they not let you in or something because your ACT score was too low?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:08 p.m.

I don't know about SAT scores, but my wife's cousin's daughter had to choose between MIT and Stanford for post-grad school, after graduation with honors from MIT. It looks like Stanford will be the choice. After four years of nor'easters, I wouldn't blame her. UM wasn't on the list of choices for undergrad or post-grad, they weren't matriculated, as it were. Obviously not everyone has such a high opinion of UM as Ann Arbor's.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 11:37 a.m.

It's simplistic to say this is a discussion about "hating" the University. Where is it stated that people hate the University-I didn't see that. If we all engaged in this manner of simplistic thinking, then what purpose what the University have, and would it exist based on your premise for your rhetoric?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 6:38 a.m.

Northside, as a UM alum and having a parent who is a UM professor emeritus, I have great pride in the University and accomplishments. I find troubling the "do nothing wrong" attitude (seemingly to the point of arrogance?) that accompanies plaintive pleas by this administration. They have failed to implement effective cost cutting measures or tightened belts in trying times, and cite the need to keep up with the Ivy league. Would we not be just as attractive as the "leaders and best" as a State University? How about being the best as such of all 50 states? That moniker would be just as attractive to cash cow foreign students and out-of-state attendees as the perpetual spin cycle of Ivy league catch up and costs this administration is playing now.

Stuart Brown

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:54 a.m.

NorthsideZak, Speaking as someone who got good SAT scores and who did get into UofM, you obviously have not been paying attention to not only the tuition hikes well in excess of inflation over the last 30 years but the increases in room & board well ahead of inflation as well. UofM is a failing institution when it comes to meeting the needs of all of Michigan residents and is rightfully receiving less money from the state as a result. Why are you sticking up for this arrogant, out-of-touch college president? She should be thanking the state for finally providing an objective and fair measure that aligns with the needs of all of the state's residents. We hear about how the U ranks in the same league as the Ivy's but how does that help all Michigan residents? The fact is, there are better ways the state can spend its money rather than blowing it on UofM.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:18 a.m.

I see a few others are making some sense too, but the majority, wow. Oh and I wanted to add that just because someone is smarter than you, does not make them an elitist. That seems to be a word people like to throw at the educated out of jelousy.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:39 a.m.

"We have gone in a decade from a top 10 state in higher education support to a bottom 10 state. We've raced to the bottom," Coleman said. And MSC, you led the way with your half million dollar salary.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:53 a.m.

If she thinks the University gets so little, maybe she should take a salary cut. I saw some students writing her salary in chalk on the sidewalk in front of her home -- well over $500,000. The irony is noted.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:13 a.m.

Question. Can someone do the research, I don't trust the figures I get. How does U of M tuition for out of state (and out of country) students compare the universities MS Coleman wants to be compared with (Princeton and Yale) or even UDM. If we're providing an Ivy League education are we getting Ivy League payments?


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 2:43 a.m.

I Googled and got tuition charges of $40,500 for this year at Yale, $52,600 at Harvard and $37,782 for out-of-state and foreign students at UM.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 3:03 a.m.

The State provides funds for university fire protection. How about what the U provides to the City, like employing more than the next largest 24 employers combined in Washtenaw County? They might live here and spend money here on homes, apartments, cars, food, at malls, etc. Like bringing in 40,000+ students with money for eating, renting expenses, entertainment, etc. Athletics making millions and bringing in hundreds of thousands of people to eat, drink, and park locally. Health care for thousands across the country. Pfizer and the City begging the U to buy the old Pfizer property after it sat empty for 18 months and now thousands work there and it expands. Rents paid to building owners around town, taxable to the owners, for health care and other university functions. And still the haters complain.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 8:47 p.m.

But what does any of that have to do with the state giving them money that they obviously don't need.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 8:07 p.m.

Just gave the $4 million to answer 1blocks question Btw, there was a rumor that Pfizer tried to buy the property back from the U and the U rebuffed the offer. I did not say anything about the Pfzier plants. I disagreed with the first line of your comment. Now thousands of private employees work there, and the U gets money for renting space. Don't kid yourself, if the pfizer plant was a bad investment decision the U would not have made it. They diet purchase it to do anyone a favor. They saw there was money to be made at the price, they had the resources to exploit it, and they bought it.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 7:57 p.m.

Yes J, and the Pfizer property sat empty for 18 months ....until the City, State, and Pfizer begged the U to purchase it, which they did. Now thousands of employees work there (read thousands of salaries paid, which income then flows through the economy) and it continues to expand. The buildings don't decay, but get investments and grow. Do you suppose those thousands of employees bought homes, pay property taxes, buy food and cars, clothes and food, have kids that go to school, travel, have health care, pay income and sales taxes? Hmmmm .... maybe the property would have been better sitting empty, falling into decay? Would that $4 million dollar property tax assessment lasted long as they property fell into ruin?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 6:35 p.m.

The fire funds are not getting paid or are severely less then what they should be. They have steadily dropped, and are not nearly what they should be compared to the amount of property owned by the U. I have a couple degrees from MSU, and if you did graduate from there you insult me for not seeing the bigger picture here the taxes were $4million


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 4:23 p.m.

Just out of curiousity do you know how much Phizer paid per year in taxes for that property ? I realize the UofM pays $0/year, but wasn't sure on the revenue prior.... any insight is helpful to understand your argument.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:48 a.m.

No surprise here, UM is the wealthiest school in the far, they should be getting the least government support. You can't have an almost $8 Billion endowment sitting in the bank then cry because you're not getting more government funding. If the state gave UM more cash, all they'd do with it is buy up even more property they don't need at double the price.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:12 a.m.

Univ of Mich was a quality school when I attended in the 70's. Quality did not need the extra "specialness"that seems to be intertwined now with it's identity. Foreign students, fancy residences, high tuition making for elite student body, higher and higher salaries, all are customary expectations now. Quality enables something to endure and have benefit in a variety of ways. "Specialness" has a downside in that it may be subjective, transient,and implies another group is likely "not special". When all or many strive for quality, the effects are much more beneficial and far reaching. "Formulas" are pitfalls, but the quandry that the Univ feels it is now faced with is not meeting with sympathy: sympathy will not change very much....people have grown suspicious of the climate they see that The University does not matter if it true or false-this is people's perceptions.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:51 a.m.

Seriously? Come back to complain when your property taxes are 1/3 of your mortgage...oh that's right, you don't pay taxes...


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:48 a.m.

A better question would be " Why should we get so much".

Kai Petainen

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:46 a.m.

"The highest increase, a 7.6 percent bump, is planned for Grand Valley State University" Question -- is the allocation to GVSU based on politics, demographics, or concentration of religion?

Kai Petainen

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:59 a.m.

GVSU taught me to be cynical and how networking rules the world of elementary education. My wife graduated from there from the education program. That year, the valedictorian stood up and spoke.... and he spoke about the awesome job he got....and he thanked his mother. Turns out, his mother spoke as well and she was an administrator at GVSU and a major part of the education system in that area. He kept thanking her for the job he got and for the connections that he made. Perhaps he was bright, but that speech at GVSU taught me that networking matters and its better to be related (or have political connections) to someone in the world of elementary education than study it at GVSU.

Real Life

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:14 a.m.

Or maybe results? Kai, you're much too young to be so cynical.

Jimmy Olsen

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:26 a.m.

Although these salaries are already out of date...probably 6 to 15% higher now.... it seems to me that Mary Sue could put in a one year pay freeze across the board and really use our tax dollars to offer increased aid to in state students and, just possibly, enhance the educational possibilities at UM. I dare say most of the state dollars will go to increased salaries and benefits. The academics should each take a sabatical and work in the "real" world for awhile, then they might understand. Mary Sue, your statements are truly an embarasment.

Left is Right

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:22 a.m.

Well, I agree that UM is one of a few elite international research universities and that it perhaps makes sense to treat it differently. That said, UM seems pretty PR-challenged these days. Kind of like when the auto execs took private jets to Washington to beg for money. It may have actually made economic sense but the public outrage certainly trumped that. Even though UM is a top research university, it is still a state school and needs to be publicly more sensitive to that aspect of its mission.

Jay Thomas

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:11 a.m.

If memory serves Mary Sue got a 6% increase to her already bloated salary and seems to want to stay on here as long as possible to milk every dollar left. She should have been let go for the two outside jobs she has (one doing business w/ the U which is a clear conflict of interest) making several hundred grand a year when the university deserves her full attention.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

"Why should we get so little ? " 1. You obviously don't need the money based on the salaries you pay yourself and your employees 2. You obviously don't need the money based on the tuition/room+board you charge your customers. 3. Your are sitting on how many BILLIONS of dollars of endowment , I think 4 plus ? Good Day


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:53 a.m.

Mary Sue Coleman is an elitist and out of touch with the common man. Tuition rates have skyrocketed and it is always justified by wanting to be an elite school. Last time I checked this is still a public university, not a private one. It has become a university only attended by the rich, elite, and the poor who are subsidized by the rest of us working chumps. The staff at the university is well paid especially when you factor in the time commitment. Learn to live within your means like the rest of us.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:33 a.m.

Mary Sue...why not take what your given and in turn turn it over to the City of Ann Arbor that provides you with your streets, water, fire protection etc....You seem to forget your university takes, and fails to give back the basics. Do not get me wrong, you sporting events do provide for the local businesses...but. And I forgot what was your slary increase again this year?


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 6:16 p.m.

The university keeps buying up taxable property and forces me to make up for it in property taxes. Stupid Ann Arbor lets them buy up everything. I then pay the price.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 12:13 a.m.

President Coleman wrote proudly in Forbes magazine that UM enrolls more Chinese students than any other American university. Perhaps Michigan taxpayers have different priorities, like more in state students or more Michigan students in critical skill areas.


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:58 p.m.

Absolutely NO sympathy on this end for the elitist at the U of M. Every month they announce a new multi million dollar project and we are suppose to believe their cries of poverty!


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 8:53 p.m.

I agree I have no sympathy either. But with the construction over the last few years, I think that those projects kept a lot of people working during the recession who may otherwise been unemployed. And a lot of the money for construction is donated or raised by the development offices. The new children and women's hospital has names all over it, people who donated generously.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 2:23 a.m.

Think of it as art jcj...

Real Life

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:30 p.m.

Universities got a 3% increase? Why an increase? Why are us taxpayers getting so little? How about a little relief for us stiffs who watch tributes and memorials tower over the campus and take away valuable taxable property? Why is it that spending and tuition for universities soar far beyond inflation, yet we get less and less results (but more and more political correctness?)?

longtime AA

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:44 a.m.

Taxpayers did get tax relief--only our Governor disguised it as a Business Tax Break--hasn't it 'trickled down' to you yet?


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:20 p.m.

"We should be worried with how we compare to Princeton and Yale, not (state universities)," Coleman said. "Why would you want to penalize your most successful university in the state? It makes no sense to me.... Why should we get so little?" The arrogance and entitlement contained in this statement perfectly sums up Mary Sue Coleman. Are you not a "state university"? You are begging for state dollars, no? Why don't you find something useful to do with that $8 billion endowment you are sitting or how you can keep your tuition inflation to less than twice the rate of inflation, as it has been, rather than cry about only getting another few million from state taxpayers this year, Mary Sue.

longtime AA

Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 1:54 a.m.

What a fantastic idea! Take a top university, and do everything to make it average, and then wonder why companies don't want to move here. Reward ******** Valley/State for raising their grad rate from 20% to 23%, but don't reward a university for having developed (over time) an educational culture which routinely graduates over 80%. Why waste energy in bringing top minds to this state--keep tuition down, go for the average to below average student, and allow the smart ones--the ones who need labs and libraries, etc. and who bring energy and ideas and then jobs to our state-- to leave and go elsewhere,


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:15 p.m.

"Why shound we get so little" Seriously? "So little"? Has President Coleman looked at tuition lately? Or the UM buidling boom? How about the average administrator/executive salary? How about Mary Sue Coleman's salary? How about this: make some reasonable cuts in your fat overblown budget before coming to the taxpayers of the state an whining about "too little". Her hubris is amazing!


Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:07 p.m.

@Say it plain- I don't understand all the venom that I regularly see here on for the University of Michigan? Maybe you can explain it to me? I don't make anywhere near $100,000/year but do I resent the salary of the recently hired social media director? No, I do not. Is it jealousy or envy at the success of the institution? I truly do not understand why so many, like you, post these comments day after day.


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 6:04 p.m.

I know many who make much more than that! Some double.

say it plain

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:28 p.m.

It's neither dear @gallery69. I very much appreciate the success of the institution as a provider of education, and as an entity that sponsors and conducts great research. I have problems with the increases in tuition that puts that education so out of the reach of many of the State's residents. I have problems with the 'business model' that UM, and they of course are not alone in this by a long shot, holds for higher education, wherein 'marketing' is an important component, and the administrators are more like CEOs running multi-billion dollar businesses than academics or scholars or educators. I ran with the 100K/yr social media director position not because I find it important to make detailed note of the salary-points of new hires at UM lol, but because a big deal was made of it on this site, and even seasoned employees of the UM found it, as I recall, an 'odd' phenomenon. But it's not, of course, if you think about what business UM is in. And I find that sad. As well as I find it sad and unseemly that the UM's reps seem to believe in arguing that it's unfair that the very very best of the state's schools should be so horrifically unfairly treated for not being able to meet the same benchmarks--like offering admission to kids who qualify for Pell Grants and like keeping tuition costs down--as the 'ordinary' ones in MI's fold. They are successful beyond successful in building and maintaining a huge endowment. It is just icky for them to complain like that, it seems to me, especially given that fact and their freewheeling spending. I hope I've made it clear that it's not about 'resentment' of anyone's salary...just finding it problematic that the UM can spend as they do and argue that it's unfair for them to be held to the same standards of aid-getting as the other Us.

Jeremy Shaver

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 11:04 p.m.

If Ms. Coleman doesn't feel that a public university such as the University of Michigan should be compared with other public universities, rather with private universities like Princeton and Yale, then UofM should take their 8 billion dollar endowment and go private. Then they would not have to be subjected to the cruel realities of state funding. Then they really could be the Harvard of the Midwest!


Tue, Mar 27, 2012 : 5:44 a.m.

Bingo! Slight name change however: From "The University OF Michigan" to "A University IN Michigan" or "Mary Sue's University". No offense intended on the latter suggestion for little sister MSU folks

say it plain

Mon, Mar 26, 2012 : 10:47 p.m.

I don't understand...the "very expensive race horse" that is UM can't figure out a way to *not* raise tuition so drastically every year, so they must eat the "chicken feed" they feel is suited to the lesser universities in the state?! And this is supposed to drum up sympathy and willingness to go to the mat in UM's defense here?! Hmm, I wonder how their recently hired 100K/year social media director advises they pitch this on the internets lol, because the currently employed rhetoric doesn't fly too high with me. But then I might not be the demo they're hoping to attract. Perhaps they hope to get the people who would never qualify for Pell Grants anyway but who *do* appreciate fine race horses ;-)