CMU President George Ross to testify on higher education budget in Lansing Tuesday
University President George Ross is scheduled to testify before the state House Appropriations higher education subcommittee today.
Ross’ visit to the state Capitol, alongside Vice President of Development and External Relations Kathy Wilbur and several other administrative figures, was prompted in response to Gov. Rick Snyder’s recommended budget for the 2013-14 school year.
“The House and the Senate hold hearings on all issues in the budget,” Wilbur said. “Among those issues are things like higher education, natural resources and corrections.”
The subcommittee began hearing testimonies regarding higher education yesterday and will continue to do so for the next couple of weeks.
According to Wilbur, Ross plans to accentuate the growing value of state support to the operational budget at CMU.
“The president will really be talking about what operational dollars are used for here at CMU – telling what it means for students and what it means for faculty,” Wilbur said.
According to the 2012-13 annual operating budget, state appropriations only accounted for about 20 percent, or $70 million, of CMU’s nearly $350 million total revenue.
“Twenty-five years ago, around 75 percent of the budget was from state support,” Wilbur said. “It’s now going down to 16 to 18 percent as the state budget has been challenged throughout the years.”
In an effort to promote an increase in state funding, Wilbur said Ross will be emphasizing that the money will stay close to home.
“Some 95 percent of the student body is Michigan residents,” Wilbur said. “That’s a high percentage of students who are likely to want to continue living in Michigan.”
Ross is generally scheduled for testimony before the House Appropriations Committee about once per year, the last one taking place in March 2012.
“The committee wants to hear testimony,” Wilbur said. “They will then start working on what they want to accept and what they would like to change in Snyder’s budget. It’s all in an effort to gain a greater understanding.”
Wilbur also stressed the importance of this year’s appointment to an unusually impressionable group of officials. Each member of the subcommittee, aside from its chairperson, Saginaw Republican Al Pscholka, is new to the position.
“It’s an opportunity for President Ross to speak about the institution and kind of just explain where we are,” Wilbur said.
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