May 29, 2011/The Saginaw News
By Barrie Barber
KOCHVILLE TWP. -- Saginaw Valley State University expects a 15 percent cut in state aid to universities will cost the Kochville Township campus about $4 million, and will add to an expected tuition rise the Board of Control may enact in June, said SVSU spokesman J.J. Boehm.
The Republican-dominated Legislature voted mostly along party lines last week to cut state aid to universities by 15 percent. Boehm expected a tuition hike will remain less than a 7 percent cap lawmakers have warned would lead to more loss of aid.
State aid reductions over time have created "a significant shift in who pays for higher education," Boehm said. State revenue will make up slight more than 20 percent of SVSU’s budget when the cuts take effect Oct. 1, the start of the next fiscal year.
"The cost of higher education is increasingly borne by students and their families," he said. "This is happening at a time when there is plenty of data to show that what states need to do is increase the number of college graduates in order to grow the economy."
State Rep. Kenneth B. Horn, R-Frankenmuth, said some universities have more places to draw money from than school districts, such as reserve accounts.
“It’s a tough balance to make, but the universities have more resources,” he said.
Higher tuition costs could make college unaffordable and lead students to leave Michigan, state Rep. Stacy Erwin Oakes, D-Saginaw, said in an interview this month.
“I just don’t know how these decreases to education help job creation,” she said.
Education comprises more than 25 percent of the state budget and remains “a top priority,” said state Sen. John R. Moolenaar, R-Midland and vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee. “We have a significant structural deficit that we needed to address in a responsible way so it does require everyone to participate,” he said.