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Ross says President Obama’s plea for universities to control tuition hikes does not affect CMU

University President George Ross is confident Central Michigan University will not be impacted by certain topics discussed by President Barack Obama during his speech at the University of Michigan last Friday.

President Obama announced a plan to force public universities to either “contain tuition or face losing federal dollars,” which left university heads questioning the president’s understanding of university financing.

According to an April 2011 release from the State Higher Education Executive Officers, Michigan is already in the bottom 10 of all states for higher education support. The national average for per-student taxpayer support is $6,451, while Michigan’s average is only $4,822 per student.

Outside Tuesday’s Academic Senate meeting, Ross said he does not see it affecting CMU students.

“For us at CMU, with our philosophy, I don’t think it would hurt our students or the university at all,” he said. “We award based on merit, and I feel comfortable with where we are as a university.”

Political science faculty member Lawrence Sych said President Obama’s plan isn’t unlike attempts of the state in the past.

“This sounds a lot like what states have tried to do in the past with mixed success,” he said. “Over the past several years, Michigan has been trimming back state support for universities, and now with some surpluses at the state level, they’re reconsidering that. It’s the lack of state support that motivates universities to increase tuition.”

President Obama’s plan aims to provide educational opportunities for all students, but Sych said it seems to have potential to harm students.

“It seems like it would be difficult to not hurt the students. If you cut federal support going to public universities, those would be hurting the very students that you’re seeking to help,” Sych said. “One of the major motives for increasing tuition is the lack of state support. If we don’t raise tuition, we’re losing that revenue. At the same time, the federal government says if you raise tuition, we’ll cut federal support. It’s really a lose-lose situation.”

Ross said CMU has been working toward cost efficiency since the beginning of the decade, introducing the CMU Promise, a price-fixed tuition plan, in the fall of 2005. The promise was eliminated in the summer of 2008.

“We’ve cut costs in basic things such as utilities to help keep tuition low,” Ross said. “What sets CMU apart is that we started this in 2002, not just when the economy started to suffer. It’s remained consistent.”

Sych said he doesn’t think Obama’s plan will be put in use anytime soon.

“Obama is close to the end of his term, so I doubt this plan would happen this soon,” he said. “It may just be a nice thing to say to gain some political support going into the next election.”

6 Comments

  1. mediacriticpa says:

    That last sentence of the story sums up Obama’s lying time in office. 

    Back in 2008 during the campaign, he said in Saginaw that anyone going into teaching, he’d give them a free college education.  Well, where’s the money???????????????

    The reporter who did the story was a CMU grad.  I think it was the Saginaw News or the Flint Journal.  She said that’s what he said when I called her.  Obama will say anything to get elected.  Now to be fair, Gingrich isn’t much better when he’s telling NASA folks last week that we’re going to set up shop on the moon.  The country is broke.  We don’t have the $$$ for the moon.  Pandering for votes like Obama and Newt do, is wrong!

    Colleges need to find ways to trim costs.  Like George’s salary.  Like all presidential salaries.  Shouldn’t be a penny more than the Governor’s salary.   Eliminating guest speakers who get paid well.  PC courses.  PC depts.  Hyphenated-American depts and events.  Duplication of depts.  And, get faculty out of research and teaching more classes.  You could get rid of half the faculty at all Michigan public schools and cut tuition in half.  That’s what Obama should have said.

    I mean his teleprompter!

    • Higher ed needs to reduce the criteria for graduation by way of eliminating the requirement for non-degree-related classes.  The University Program is nothing but a way to force students to spend money on classes they normally would not take and do not need.  A biology major does not need phys ed credits (nobody buys the “well rounded student” bunk).  Reduce number of credits for degree = reduced costs.  If classes are not needed for degrees (e.g. scuba) the eliminate them.  Streamline.  Get students out in 3 years, or 2.5… not 5.

  2. Stupid Troll says:

    The republicans in congress make the laws. They didn’t support any of his ideas. So maybe it’s we need their “lying time in office” to end too.

  3. CMU was set apart between 2002 and 2008, but no longer. i selected to go to this school because of the CMU promise but it ended right before i began my freshman year in the fall of 2008. since then, it’s increased incrementally. i don’t know why he would ever bring the promise up because it was a promise that was broken and it’s ultimately irrelevant!

  4. In case you did know, he held his word on giving the free education to teachers if they taught in a low income district. If a teacher stays in that district for so many years with a good report then their loans are forgiven, and in the mean time they can have them put on hold while they build up those years so yes he kept his word.
    Unlike Bush who created the No Child Left behind Act, which has Hurt more and more schools and students

    • Michmediaperson says:

      John, I know about some of the Teacher Foregiveness Programs that Bill Clinton and George W. Bush signed into law.

      Show me where Barack Hussein Obama will pay for a CMU students who pays $1000 for a 3 hour course.  You need what about 124 credit hours to graduate.  So, if my math is right, it’s about $41,000 and some change.  Plus, you’ve got books and board.

      Tell me where I go on the Internet to find that Obama signed into law a program paying me $41,000 and change for tuition plus 4 yrs of room and board and books.

      How do I learn more about this Obama Program.  

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