University presidents testify before Senate Higher Education Subcommittee
Patrick Center February 27, 2014 | WGVU “Presidents often use these hearings to brag about their universities.”
For Grand Valley State University it means graduating the most students with the fewest appropriated dollars. For President Thomas Haas, it comes down to efficiency.
“For each degree here at Grand Valley taxpayers will have contributed $10,000. That compares to a state average of $18,000.”
A show of accountability, Haas expressed concern about the budget structure. Under the current fiscal year only two percent of higher ed funding is subject to performance testing. That leaves 98-percent overlooked.Funding based on enrollment is also ignored.
“When enrollment is not a factor, two perverse things can occur: Campuses that shrink keep the money, while schools that grow end up with less state aid per student. I hope those are not outcomes you actually want.”
Governor Rick Snyder is proposing a six percent funding increase for universities if they limit tuition increases to 3.2 percent or less. Republican Tonya Schuitmaker from Kalamazoo chairs the Higher Ed Subcommittee. She asked if the cap could be reduced to 2.6 percent.
“I haven’t done the modeling for 2.6 percent so it’s a little bit hard to answer that question.”
U of M Flint President Dr. Ruth J. Person.“It’s a matter of trying to keep the cost as low as we possibly can for our students.”
There was a time when the state paid three-quarters of a student’s tuition. Today it’s just the opposite. For the Presidents testifying, it’s about balancing the funding model.
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