By JUSTINE McGUIRE
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.