Proposed tuition caps could strain public universities

Capital News Service
LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder’s new budget proposal would raise funding for Michigan’s public universities — but that money would come with a catch. The proposed 2 percent increase would mean about $28 million more for higher education and raise the total state budget for universities to $1.544 billion. But in order to claim their share of the increase, universities would have to work with a limit of 2.8 percent when increasing next year’s tuition rates. “So the question universities have to ask themselves is, do I want to forgo that money and exceed the cap? Or do I make it work?” said Mike Boulus, executive director of the Presidents Council, a nonprofit organization representing Michigan’s 15 public universities.

Universities innovate, cut costs as state aid drops

Capital News Service
LANSING – Public universities in north and west Michigan are trying to become smarter with their money as state appropriations continue to decline and other revenue sources fail to pick up the slack. Money-saving efforts range from reducing energy use at Grand Valley State University to smarter energy purchasing at Northern Michigan University and Ferris State University to paperless offices at Northern and controlling administrative costs at Grand Valley. All revenue sources, including state appropriations, federal spending on research and student aid, endowments and philanthropy are declining. Tuition revenue isalso down at some universities, higher tuition rates have not been able to make up for lower enrollment, and there’s no light at the end of the tunnel, according to a recent report from Moody Investors Service. Public university officials agreed that shrinking state funding is their biggest revenue problem.