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Posted on Wed, Mar 28, 2012 : 7:50 p.m.

EMU president Susan Martin to legislators: Don't penalize us for tuition restraint

By Cindy Heflin

Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin told legislators Wednesday that under a proposal from Gov. Rick Snyder, EMU is being penalized instead of rewarded for its efforts over the past three years to hold down tuition increases.

In prepared remarks, Martin told the Michigan House Education Appropriations Subcommittee that EMU has been a leader among the state’s universities in voluntarily keeping tuition increases to a minimum.

“Eastern's voluntary restraint has increased undergraduate tuition by only 2.47% per year, or just $20 per credit hour, over three years,” Martin said. “The overall cost increase for Eastern students over the three-year period is approximately $1,000 less than the average increase at the other Michigan universities.”

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Eastern Michigan University President Susan Martin.

Instead of being rewarded for its efforts, EMU stands to lose out under a proposed formula offered by Gov. Snyder to divvy up “a small pot of $36.2 million in one-time monies” over the next two years, Martin said.

Martin said the governor proposed four metrics for awarding funds: $17,192 for each additional undergraduate degree the school awards above its three-year average; $685 per degree in certain critical skill fields, based on a three-year average; $155 per undergraduate Pell grant recipient, based on a three-year average; and a certain amount of money if the university increases tuition by no more than 4 percent next year.

“Eastern finds it puzzling that the first three measures use an average from the past three years, yet the fourth measure - addressing tuition restraint - does not,” Martin said.

Under the first three metrics, EMU would get about $66 million for fiscal year 2013, a 2.3 percent increase over this year. The amount allocated under the fourth metric would not be determined until tuition is set for next year.

Martin also touted EMU’s efforts to increase financial aid for students in the face of budget cuts from the state. Particularly challenging was a 15 percent reduction in funding for the current fiscal year. She said Eastern has more than doubled financial aid over the past seven years.

She also pointed to new initiatives at EMU to prepare students for 21st century careers, including the Information Assurance program, which prepares students for careers in cyber security and a new master's degree program for physician's assistants. And she noted Eastern’s participation in project Lead The Way, which trains middle- and high-school teachers to teach a rigorous science, technology, engineering, and math curriculum in Michigan schools.

Earlier this week, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, lambasted the governor's formula before a group of faculty members.

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.

In closing Wednesday, Martin also challenged legislators to invest in Michigan’s public universities, from which she noted about 75 percent of legislators had earned their degrees.

“Protect this asset, enhance it, and preserve it,” she said. “Don't let us continue to be noted as one of only two States in the nation along with Alabama that lose Federal funds for failing to maintain support for higher education. Turn the tide. As a member of this subcommittee, what will be your personal legacy to strengthen higher education?”



Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 12:57 p.m.

"Protect this asset, enhance it, and preserve it," she said. Ms. Martin, you have done an excellent job of keeping tuition rates down, offering significant scholarship dollars to our students, and providing a top-notch education. Keep fighting for our students. Worth noting: EMU College of Business labeled 'outstanding' for eighth consecutive year in Princeton Review's listing of nation's top 294 business schools. The EMU College of Business has approximately 2,500 undergraduate students pursuing one of 12 majors and 845 graduate students pursuing either an MBA, Masters of Information Systems, Masters of Integrated Marketing Communications, Masters of Human Resources and Organizational Development or Masters of Accounting. Source:


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 5:19 p.m.

@Jeff: I have a family member who works for EMU, and she has been told the same thing many times over the past few years by alumni ... there are still many who miss their Hurons. : D

Jeff Frank

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 4:47 p.m.

Now... if she'd only dump that eagle and bring back our Hurons. :-)


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 11:19 a.m.

Is that increase figure 66 million 118 thousand 400 dollars ? or has my brain finally died or am I reading something wrong ?

Cindy Heflin

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 11:28 a.m.

That's the amount EMU would get under the three metrics if the governor's plan is approved. It's not an increase of that amount. I've changed it to about $66 million to make the figure easier to digest.

Roger Parlett

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 2:07 a.m.

I agree that state funds should encourage studies in fields where work exists. Engineers and pharmacologists are in demand- the difficult fields. Those taking foreign studies, liberal arts and the study of muscles are in for disappointment. Teachers are also not in demand unless you leave Michigan.


Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 1:53 a.m.

You nailed it David...the biggest fear of TeaPublicans is education and enlightenment...sort of like religion's fear during the middle ages

David Briegel

Thu, Mar 29, 2012 : 1:07 a.m.

You women are wasting your breath. These are TeaPublicons and their agenda does not include education at any level. And don't compare Michigan to Alabama. Michigan is the Mississippi of the North! The ignorance agenda must prevail! Education is for the elites!!