CMU uses state appropriations, student tuition dollars to cover expenses on campus

The distribution of tuition money and state appropriations for the general fund at Central Michigan University is similar to several other universities in Michigan.

State appropriations, student tuition dollars and revenue from other sources combine to form a general fund that covers all expenses on campus.

According to a document provided by David Burdette, vice president of Finance and Administrative Services, 75 percent of the general fund is comprosed of student tuition dollars, 20 percent from state appropriations and the rest from other revenues.

The general fund is used to cover areas including faculty and staff salaries, benefits, supplies and transfers, utilities and scholarships.

“The biggest expenditure by far is salaries, wages and benefits,” Burdette said. “These benefits include health insurance, retirement, social security and those kinds of things. After that, areas like academic supplies, utilities and scholarships are covered.”

In 2011, the two most expensive areas covered by the general fund were instructional purposes and public service. Approximately $150 million was spent on instructional purposes and public service cost approximately $70 million.

Western Michigan University, a public university in Kalamazoo with more than 25,000 students, also makes use of a general fund to cover all university expenses.

“Tuition dollars go toward our general operation budget, which is combined with our state appropriation,” Cheryl Roland, executive director of University Relations at WMU, wrote in an email. “Essentially, tuition dollars aren’t treated any differently than state appropriations. We do a general fund statement and divvy money up for various projects from there.”

According to a budget breakdown sent via email by Roland, WMU spends 60 cents of each dollar in the general fund on academic activities, including instruction, academic advising and support and faculty research support. Approximately 21 cents of each dollar goes toward student activities, about 14 cents per dollar goes toward administrative services and the rest is spent on university utilities and insurance.

According to a document on Eastern Michigan University's website, in the 2011 fiscal year, the public university of approximately 23,000 students in Ypsilanti spent more than $80 million on faculty salaries, more than $5 million on utilities and about $250,000 on scholarships.

Michigan State University’s budget breakdown was not received in time for publication.

Burdette said the way CMU spends student tuition dollars is efficient and comparable to any university.

“I’ll put our statistics up against anybody on how we spend our money in terms of efficiency,” Burdette said. “We spend more toward instruction and less on administration than a lot of other campuses.”


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