Skubick: State university funding may lag behind inflation

Michigan

Michigan State University is bracing itself for a state increase that will not keep pace with inflation.

And MSU is not alone.

In the last six months lawmakers and the governor have focused on no-fault car insurance and finding some way to fix the roads.

You have not heard one word about funding higher education.

The governor did propose a 3 percent increase in her budget which would be above the projected 2.4 percent inflation increase next year.

But the CEO of the Michigan Association of State Universities is not very hopeful about nailing down 3 percent. 

In fact, the Senate recommendation is a one-percent hike while the House is even smaller: .4 percent.

This comes at a time when the universities have still not recovered from the whopping 15 percent budget cut they took during the first year of the Snyder administraton.

“We are a billion dollars below where we were in 2001, in terms in State investment in higher education,” explained Dan Hurley of the Michigan Association of State Universities. “And that is essentially meant to cost shift in who pays for a public University in Michigan.”

And to make matters worse, since the 1980s the percentage of state support for higher education has dropped, with families and students forced to cough up more money.

“Back in the 80’s the State payed 85 percent of what it cost to put a Student through a University and now we are down to 22 percent,” added Hurley.

Dr. Hurley reports all the universities have cut their costs and consolidated services but at the end of the day the expected 1.5 percent increase won’t keep pace with inflation, forcing universities and students to find other ways to foot the bill.

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