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Posted on Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 2:18 p.m.

University of Michigan prepares budget request for state, warns of 'aggressive' changes

By Juliana Keeping

Without naming a dollar amount, the University of Michigan is asking the state for help with next year's budget.

In the annual operating budget request to the state for the Ann Arbor campus, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman reminded the state of U-M's contributions to the economy. She noted the university is "an essential component in the stabilization and revitalization of the Michigan economy." 

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U-M President Mary Sue Coleman

The letter highlighted a number of recent cost containment measures and spoke of efforts on the university's part to help students pay for tuition.

The 7-page letter from the president, with an introduction from Provost Teresa Sullivan, notes the state didn't ask for a budget request for fiscal year 2011 this year in light of the economic environment. But "the university has decided to go on the record" anyway, it says.

The president's letter was less detailed than the 34-page request sent last year, but its tone was slightly more ominous. It stopped short of warning of any layoffs, but noted that "aggressive policy and organizational changes will be required over the next three years."

The state gave U-M $317 million for this school year, fiscal year 2010. That's $47 million less in nominal dollars than U-M received in 2002, the letter states.

The state budget request will come before the University of Michigan Board of Regents for approval Thursday.

Also up for approval are budget requests for U-M's Flint and Dearborn campuses.

Juliana Keeping covers higher education for Reach her at or 734-623-2528. Follow Juliana Keeping on Twitter



Thu, Dec 17, 2009 : 4:52 p.m.

treetowncartel, The Ocker Field turf is designed to be watered. I couldn't believe it the first time I saw it, either. So I researched the practice on this thing called the Internet...


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 3:59 p.m.

treetowncartel, Immediate vesting in the retirement plan will no longer occur with new UM employees. Also, employees will have to contribute a portion of their medical premiums beginning in January. UM parking fees increase every year. The division where I work made serious cutbacks during the previous recession. In recent years departments were required to give back, mid-year, a portion of their budgeted money when the state's contribution fell short of what was projected. My own office gets only a budget for salary. We have to raise our own money for operating expenses, which has become increasingly difficult during this economic slowdown. It isn't all rosy in Wolverine land.


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 2:14 p.m.

treetown - there is a lot of info on the university's budget, revenue sources, cost containment efforts etc. on their website. There are links from the main well as more detailed information from the Provost's website.


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 12:43 p.m.

How about U-M using Michigan based companies instead of oursourcing to the lowest bidder as it has done with numerous out of state vendors!!


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 12:16 p.m.

Maybe ther folks here at Ann Arbor dot com could do a little FOIaing to find out some numbers for us. I would be interested to see how much money the U of M matches and where it comes from. Also, it seems like they spend a lot fo money on things that don't need it. i remember driving by the field hockey complex a few years ago and they had the sprinklers on, watering the artificial turf. doesn't really seem to go with their sustainability and green emphasis, or fiscally sound.


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 10:46 a.m.

New flash: The City of Ann Arbor owns more land IN THE CITY than U of M.... According to... the City of Ann Arbor. On this land:. The City of Ann Arbor provides less than 1,000 jobs.. U of M provides about 32,000 jobs.. Which entity is an economic engine?. Which entity has taken the most land from the tax base, while blocking private development in and out of the City?. Which entity appears to have land acquisition as their largest priority?. Which entity is cutting core public services and employees at the same time they are actively EXPANDING their land base?. Who really thinks that U of M is the biggest problem in this scenario?


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 8:16 a.m.

Just one thing to add here and I don't have specific numbers, someone else may have the exact numbers. At one time, UofM was funded roughly 50% by the state. That number is now down to approximately 15% and going lower. Some day, UofM may go private. Ann Arbor taxpayers will rejoice. All MI middle & lower class parents will not join in the celebration because the U will then only cater to the rich and the scholastically very gifted. Right now, despite the tuition increases, I doubt you can get a better college education for dollars spent than the University of Michigan. Take a look at tuition costs at other equally ranked universities if you don't believe me.


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 7:27 a.m.

I agree with DonBee's comments. U of M _is_ a gem and offers so much hope for the future of our State. Regarding football finances: This is a tired argument. Doesn't footbal pay for itself, as well as paying for other sports? On another topic: Washtenaw County employees just agreed to give up 8 days of pay this year, which is over a week and a half of pay. Why shouldn't UM also take a look at cutting costs this way at all salary levels? While it's health insurance expenses that are really killing employers, salary reduction might be of some help.

Captain Magnificent

Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 1:13 a.m.

Hopefully the "aggressive" changes they're advocating are a different kind of "aggression" than 9 members of the Michigan State Football team displayed a couple of weeks ago when they jumped that one kid...


Tue, Dec 15, 2009 : 12:33 a.m.

DonBee is right on the money. Why not capitalize on the abilities of this great institution to help out the economy and the state. Jon67, many years ago, as an education major at Oakland University, I was advised by the university to consider a different major because the outlook for employment for teachers was not very promising. I wonder if any higher education institutions still do such a thing today or if they just want the tuition bucks reguardless if the graduate has any marketable skills.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 10:52 p.m.

The "finest medical benefits" aren't free you know? And, in fact, both this year and next year increases in employee contributions to pay for our benefits are going up so don't act like university employees are getting handouts. But then, I suppose maybe we should have to pay for 100% of our benefits since all we do is "sit on our arses" all day long.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 9:41 p.m.

YouWhine Got it right! They buy up property with Our Money and then it is off the tax rolls. Sure they add a lot to the local economy but they need to look at cuts in salaries just like everyone else is. Some of the salaries make them look like bankers!


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 8:08 p.m.

"President Mary Sue Coleman reminded the state of U-M's contributions to the economy." They certainly have made quite an impact on the local economy. Perhaps they could snap up some MORE real estate off of the local tax rolls.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 7:38 p.m.

leave U Of M alone.They need money to buy soccer fields,move museum displays,add to the biggest stadium in the country etc..etc..etc..

Craig Lounsbury

Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 6:57 p.m.

Does somebody need to remind Mary Sue Coleman that we the people of the State of Michigan own the University? She is employed by the people of Michigan. Her first responsibility is to the people who employ her.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 6:20 p.m.

Now, if I were the Governor, I would reduce the State's financial support for 2010 and thereafter to MSU, WSU, WMU, EMU, CMU, etc. by $1 million for each new graduate in elementary education cranked out by these schools who immediately packs up and leaves the state because there are no jobs or need for the majority of them in Michigan, everyone knows it, and this absurd, wasteful, over-production of unneeded elementary teachers is not going to change any time soon.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 5:30 p.m.

Way to go treetowncartel, U-M charges whatever they like for tution, has way too many employees on payroll. I have overheard comments from employees such as "gotta love goverment or education jobs you sit back and do nothing all day" all the while getting 50k or more a year with incredible benefits. When I see this first hand it blows me away that they want to ask the state (read you and me) for more taxpayer money. Sure the university does a lot of good for the community but when they have leeches sucking the system dry and telling everyone look out for the future, that sits like a rotten tomato to me. Look within before saying how much taxpayer money you need, everyone needs to cut back and some of their cost cutting programs are not what they appear. I would love to have my employer match my 401k 2 for 1, get some of the finest medical etc... all the while sitting on my arse all day doing nothing.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 5:20 p.m.

Nice idea, DonBee!


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 4:27 p.m.

We can only hope that the dismantlement of primary public education does not find its way to our public university system, currently the envy of the world.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 4:14 p.m.

So, what else is new?


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 3:43 p.m.

The University of Michigan is one of the truly great universities in the world. It has more to offer than almost any other and when you compare the breadth of the university to others - none really do compare (e.g. MIT does not have the law school, Harvard the engineering, etc). So it is a gem. So much so that it has one of the largest endowments of any public university in the world - more than $2 Billion dollars - in the bank to help it grow into the future. Here is my challenge back to President Coleman - In 2010 how about you spin enough new ideas off the university to create at least 1 new small company every day of the year. That would be about 1/3 the rate Stanford did this year. I would support more money for the UofM if they could match this rate (I would like it even better if they could match Stanford). 300 or 400 new firms all based on significant technology transfer (not just students running with their own ideas or professors extending a piece of research) but real technology transfer into the community. WIth an endowment of more than $2 billion dollars (highest of any public institution) the University should have the financial muscle to make this happen. If I were the Governor, I would offer the University $1 million in state aid for 2010 for each technology spin off created. At one a day that would be $365 million - in the range the university is asking for. Seems fair to me. The UofM helps accelerate the economy locally be aggressively creating new technology companies and the state helps the university to stabilize its budget. In that way people have jobs, they buy homes, and stuff which gives others jobs, which in turn provides taxes, which repays the UofM. President Coleman is sitting on the best jobs creation machine in the Midwest, she needs to put it in overdrive and empty the invention closet. Go Blue - Beat Unemployment!


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 3:22 p.m.

Well, what do you think about yur tax dollars matchiong the retirement package 2 to 1. everyone is calling for the public school employees to take a hit. Why not U of M? Tell me you wouldn't like these perks.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 3:14 p.m.

Sorry are off base. If it wasn't for UofM as well as some of our other universities, Michigan would be far worse of than it is. Ann Arbor exsists because of the U. What do you think would be here if the University of Michigan was gone? -Michigan attracts business to the area and people live in the area who work at the U. Football finances itself and does not benefit from the funds from the state. Michigan has been downsizing, people leave and are not replaced,...since 2005. Less people doing more work for less money...that is the reality. No complaining, that is the reality of the state as a whole. However, money invested in Michigan, as well as Michigan State or other higher ed institutions, is money well spent.


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 3:04 p.m.

Go for it, U of M... You are certainly worthy of the support.. U of M is about the only state-fund recipient that has the ability to bring international dollars, as well as federal research funding.. Fuel the economic engine that has potential to lead us to economic recovery!


Mon, Dec 14, 2009 : 2:39 p.m.

Wow! What nerve! With tution rates the way they are and the ecomomy the way it is do not believe the U of M is putting the bite on the state for money. Why don't they take some of that football revenue and do something with it. Mary much of a pay cut are you and your staff willing to take just like a lot of citizen are doing to keep a job or to send their kids to college?