Editorial

EDITOR: Looted by Lansing

CMU Trustee Brian Fannon looks to his fellow trustee Tricia Keith during the Board of Trustees meeting in the Bovee University Center on Thursday morning. (Morgan Taylor | Assistant Photo Editor)

CMU Trustee Brian Fannon looks to his fellow trustee Tricia Keith during the Board of Trustees meeting in the Bovee University Center on Thursday morning. (Morgan Taylor | Assistant Photo Editor)

For decades Central Michigan University has been known as an affordable institution where students could receive a discounted education comparable to what is offered at bigger colleges.

Yet crippling state funding cuts and tuition hikes for next school year are pushing CMU further from that identity.

The price of an undergraduate credit hour will rise 2.94 percent this fall to $385. Global Campus credit hour costs will rise 4.6 percent to $387, making it more expensive to take classes in front of a computer screen than in front of an instructor. The medical school is raising yearly tuition by nearly $5,000 dollars.

The number of high school graduates in Michigan will continue to decline in the coming years, and the number of those students choosing less expensive education alternatives will likely rise.

Meanwhile, Lansing has done nothing to make it more worthwhile to pursue higher education in Michigan.

In 2001, CMU received about $90 million in state funding. Since then, the unemployment rate has skyrocketed and the economy has worsened. Adjusting for inflation since 2001, $90 million is worth about $93 million today. But today, CMU receives only $73 million from the state.

Students are the ones suffering. In the last decade, the cost of CMU tuition has increased by over 200 percent, according to institutional research. Those graduating from CMU average student debt of over $30,000, which is more than Eastern Michigan University, University of Michigan, Michigan State University and the majority of our competitor schools, according to Project on Student Debt.

Students come to college to prepare themselves to find jobs. They find jobs to pay back the money they spent on school and eventually to make a decent, hopefully debt free, living.

Increasingly, the “traditional” path into adulthood seems more like a money pit.

If CMU wants to stabilize enrollment, it must alleviate the burden of cost instead of continuing to pile it on. In order to do this, CMU needs the state to offer more funding instead of taking it away.

Despite increasing tuition by almost 3.2 percent, the maximum a university can raise it while still receiving state aid, CMU has the lowest 4-year increase rate among public universities in the state. However, it receives the fifth lowest amount of state appropriations among its counterparts.

The state must help make higher education affordable for its residents, and it has been neglecting the obligation for too long.

In the last decade, more than a billion dollars has been taken out of higher education in the state. President Ross said at yesterday’s board of trustees meeting that until CMU can get leadership in Lansing to realize this is wrong, the university can do nothing.

Governor Rick Snyder recently recommended a partial restoration of state appropriations, which would increase CMU’s funding by 7.8 percent, the fifth highest in the state.

Considering the current condition of Michigan public universities, the move is mandatory. The state can no longer handle the repercussions of staying idle.

We see no better investment than one in education, our future. Failure to fix the crippled system will leave the future of CMU and colleges across the state in jeopardy.

6 Comments

  1. michmediaperson says:

    Dear Editor:

    The Democrats and Republicans in Lansing didn’t loot CMU. CMU did it to themselves.

    The Democrats need to keep MSU, UM and Wayne State, their urban strongholds, well financed. They don’t care about CMU. Never have. Never will.

    That leaves the Republicans. Why should they send extra revenue to CMU when they read CM LIFE and see monies spent on millionaire Obama supporters such as Colin Powell and Toure coming to campus, receiving big checks and preaching Obama. Michael Moore was here in 2004 for John Kerry.

    So, CMU comes up empty every year.

    When I attended CMU, I think I paid $12 a credit hour. Our professors didn’t do research. They were in the classrooms and in their offices for help and guidance.
    CMU ran lean. The bureaucracies I see today are startling. The massive overhead. Multiculturalism and spending wastes. High-priced Democrat Party speakers.

    CMU doesn’t have a revenue problem. It has a spending problem. Multi-million dollar deficits in the athletic department, hundreds of thousands of dollars to Democrat Party supporters to come speak, multiculturalism and political correctness, overabundance of fund-raisers and marketing people, etc.

    In fact, CM LIFE should reprint the great editorial by the liberal mainstream USA Today from this past Tuesday.

    The USA TODAY blasted universities for wasteful spending and leading to the trillion dollar deficit in federal student loans. In fact, it sounded like michmediaperson wrote it.

    Said the USA TODAY:

    “A better approach to the high cost of education is to actually attack the high cost of education.

    Universities have become wildly bloated and inefficient, spending their revenues on things that don’t directly benefit student such as bureaucracies, unnecessary buildings, money-losing sports and professors who spend little time in classrooms.”

    Sounds like CMU.

    We all knew 18 years ago, the lower birthrates in Michigan meant fewer high school grads. So, why did CMU build new dorms?

    This editorial wasn’t only written to please Ross and the Board of Trustees. But, it’s an editorial that is slowly ginning up the eventual editorial by CM LIFE to vote straight Democrat Party in November.

    The fact is though, that crying about CMU’s funding was alive and well when former CMU president Mike Rao gave liberal Democrat Governor Jennifer Granholm and the Dems ides how to increase CMU funding. He fell flat on his face. No matter which party in Lansing, they aren’t buying CMU’s ideas for more money. Nor should they.

    Even if Rick Snyder gave CMU tomorrow an extra 20 million dollars, do you honestly believe every penny would be returned to the students in the way of tuition refunds???

    Plus, 20 million bucks divided by 16,000 students is only $1250 a year. CMU students would still be leaving here with more than $30,000 in student loans.

    You have to remember. Back in the 50′s, 60′s and 70s, the state hauled in an extraordinary amount of taxes from the car companies. But the unions and the increased regulations by liberals killed car and truck sales so Toyota, Honda, Nissan, the Germans, Hyundai came to America and sold vehicles. Look at Detroit, Flint, Lansing today. Plus, the Democratic Party destroying Detroit sent jobs out-of-state. The state has lost a lot of jobs and revenue. Those jobs went to anti-union states like Texas, Alabama,etc.

    CMU needs to go back to 40-50 years ago. No research, No spending on political correctness, leaner department staff, a shrunken-down Warriner Hall and cash incentives for students to graduate within four years. CMU needs to get back to the old days when we were able to graduate in four years.

    I challenge CM LIFE to ask the Detroit media to run a poll of taxpayers asking them if they want their taxes raised so CMU can pay $125,000 to Obama’s friend–Colin Powell, for drag queen shows, athletics, Democrat Party loyalists, political correctness and so forth. The poll would be lopsided. Taxpayers don’t want to pay for this garbage. The USA TODAY did a great job pointing it out.

    CM LIFE said, “Make college affordable.” It would be if universities didn’t waste money.

    Said the USA TODAY:

    “The federal government and the states need to use the leverage that comes with their dollars to demand accountability and cost containment.”

    “With the number of people seeking college degrees on the rise, that could even include universities devoid of the frills that make existing ones so expensive.”

    So, well-said. The USA TODAY talking like michmediaperson.

    I truly believe instead of the funding mechanisms that Rao and Ross have been pitching with no success, that CMU re-invent themselves.

    For example, let’s cutback and/or eliminate women’s studies, hyphenated-American studies and the College of Humanities and spend the money on IT classes and boosting enrollment there. Michigan has a shortage of IT professionals and Snyder said the state may need to bring in foreigners. If we show the new efficiencies to Lansing and how we’re producing tomorrow’s graduates, then the elected officials will send more monies to Mt. Pleasant.

    Another year passes where Ross, just like Rao did, whines about Lansing. It’s time to re-define and re-invent CMU so we get back to $200 an hour tuition like the old days.
    And, get classes, curriculums in here that will fill the job vacancies in the state.

    Two things you can bet on. This newspaper endorsing the Democratic slate in November and Ross complaining about Lansing a year from now.

    Instead of whining, CMU needs to change itself. Back to the Future would be a great start.

  2. MichMedia:
    What! “I think I paid $12 a credit hour” When were you here, 1910? In the early to mid 90s it was in the low $100s per credit hour. I’m impressed though, you managed to keep the party blaming to a minimum and I agree that CMU is spending too much in areas it shouldn’t. Personally I’d like to see more money from Lansing, but that’s just because I don’t see the administration being willing to prioritize education over their personal dreams of being ‘Ivy League’.

  3. michmediaperson says:

    1910???
    I did some checking on the internet.
    In 1960, you could attend the University of Michigan, take 5 classes and pay only $150 for the entire semester.
    About $10 a credit hour in Ann Arbor.

    In 1970, Graduate (not undergrad) education at Eastern Michigan was only $21 an hour.
    In 1979, MSU was $24.50 an hour. It’s over $428 today.

    Until CMU goes on a massive diet, nothing will change. 40-50 years ago, you didn’t have the overhead like you have today. You didn’t have the Colin Powells of the day hauling home $125,000 checks. We didn’t have multiculturalism and political correctness. We had winning athletic teams that didn’t run massive deficits.

    Bill Boyd and his lean Warriner Hall team gave us a great education. CMU was a great place to be in those years.

    The Democrats and Republicans aren’t going to help CMU.

    CMU could slash tuition but it won’t.

    • Interesting. If your numbers are correct and the inflation calculator I just used is accurate then $10 a credit hour in 1960 adjusted for inflation should be about $78 a credit hour now. Although a minimum wage of $1.25 an hour in 1961 would be bumped up to $9.78 as well, which hasn’t happened.

  4. michmediaperson says:

    To It’s Me:

    That’s a fair trade.

    We’ll up the minimum wage as long as CMU takes tuition down to $78. Where do we sign-up for this program.

    The cuts would be so severe that George Ross would be the only person left in Warriner Hall. The maid and everyone else would have to be terminated.

    Let’s do it!

    • Neither of us took into account state appropriations for per student funding. I don’t have those numbers. Could be interesting to see how much more or less Michigan is putting into Higher Education taking inflation into account.

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