|MSU President: Governor Snyder's Higher-ed Cuts Brutal|
March 23, 2011/Detroit Free Press |
By David Jesse
When Michigan State University started looking at the possibility of cuts to its state aid, it projected a 13 percent cut and the need for a 5 percent to 7 percent increase in tuition for students.
So when Gov. Rick Snyder announced his budget proposal, which would cut about 22 percent of state aid and then give universities 7 percent of that cut back if they held tuition increases under 7 percent, MSU was “between the foul poles” and not out of the stadium, MSU President Lou Ann Simon said following testimony before the state House appropriation committee’s higher education committee this morning.
“We believe we can make this work,” Simon told reporters. “That’s not to say it isn’t brutal.”
The higher education subcommittee is spending the month hearing testimony from the presidents of all 15 Michigan’s public universities. The presidents are talking about the cuts they’ve already made to their budgets and what could happen if they had to make more cuts.
MSU, Michigan Technological University and Saginaw Valley State University leaders testified today.
Simon spent her time reminding legislators of MSU's history. She also said the university has been working hard to make cuts – including getting health care savings from employees.
But the theme of the morning from all the presidents was the steepness of the cuts, both this year and in the previous few years.
“This hasn’t been good for you, and it hasn’t been good for us,” MTU President Glenn Mroz told the legislators.
SVSU President Eric Gilberston said he hoped his testimony wouldn’t be considered whining. Instead, he pointed out that in 2001, his institution got $4,500 per student from the state. He said that under Snyder’s proposed budget, that would drop to less than $3,000 per student.
“We know whining isn’t going to bring more money into state coffers,” Gilberston said. “We ask you to keep trying to mitigate the harm that could come to these institutions.”
State Rep. Joan Bauer, D-Lansing, said that’s what the state needs to do.
“It’s important that we do not harm something the taxpayers have built over years,” she said. “We have to look long term at cuts so we don’t do that.”