How should governments and institutions of higher education manage the skyrocketing cost of tuition? No one seems to have found the silver bullet — certainly not Michigan
The state is home to 15 public universities, and each of those schools saw varying levels of decrease in state appropriations following a 15 percent cut across the board. Michigan State University, for example, saw its share of state aid fall by about $43 million. It typically receives $280 million to $300 million from the state.
The school and others across the state then made up the loss by increasing tuition. In MSU’s case, that was a 6.9 percent increase from the year prior.
A declining economy brought about these cuts, and governments were forced to slim down.
This year, there’s hope an increase in state aid for all public universities this summer might offset a jump in tuition thanks to a budget surplus under a Republican-led administration. However, the political ramifications following how said aid is distributed remains unclear.
The State News’ Rachel Jackson and Rebecca Ryan at MSU recently highlighted the issue of rising tuition and burdening debt and the tussle for dollars.
Although the state had a total surplus of about $400 million this year, the state appropriated $36.2 million of that surplus toward higher education, which some legislators said is not a strong enough investment.
State Budget Director John Nixon said this method is used so that funding is not just distributed randomly but based on how well the university meets (a set) criteria.
“We don’t like the peanut butter approach where you can just smear it across the system,” Nixon said.