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September 11, 2003 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 2003-09-11

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The Michigan Daily - Thursday, September 11, 2003 - 5A

Yeah, we're looking at you


Continued from Page 1A
duced sometime in the near future -
would reduce federal aid to schools
that increase total costs of attendance
by twice the rate of the CPI's increase
for three consecutive years, McKeon
"I'm hopeful that (schools) get out
of the negative attitude that they can't
control their costs," said McKeon,
chairman of the 21st Century Compet-
itiveness Subcommittee of the House
Education and Workforce Committee.
But reductions in federal aid would
not affect direct government assistance
to students, such as Pell Grants or stu-
dent loans, a news release from McK-
eon's office states.
Under the bill, higher education
institutions increasing their costs of
attendance by more than twice the
CPI for two straight years would be
required to file a report with the
Department of Education explain-
ing the increases and outlining a
plan to keep costs down in the
future, McKeon said.
Schools are currently required to file
reports detailing tuition rates, fees and
room and board costs with the depart-
ment, and the bill would also simplify
the filing process, he added.
While some schools have worked
hard to keep their costs down, the leg-
islation would aim to encourage
accountability for other institutions
that "have had a record over the last 20
years" of raising costs faster than the
inflation rate or CPI, McKeon said.
The cost report, co-authored by
Education Committee Chairman
John Boehner (R-Ohio), states that
tuition rates in the last decade rose
38 percent after being adjusted for
inflation, and that since the 1980s
costs rose three times as much as
median family income.
Last year costs for four-year schools
rose in every state, even though 10 of
those states increased state appropria-
tions by as much or more than the
tuition increases, the report states.
Tuition increases have persisted
regardless of economic circumstances
and the level of state funding, it states.
"What incentive do (schools) have to
keep their costs down? There is no
control; McKeon said.
But Bob Weygand, president and

chief executive officer of the New
England Board of Higher Education,
said the report and legislation do not
recognize that many schools are
increasing their financial aid coffers at
a faster rate than their costs, thus mini-
mizing or decreasing real costs for
many students.
"While the tuition and room and
board may increase 5 percent in a
given year, the financial assistance
may increase 6 percent," he said,
adding that such a proposal would cre-
ate an incentive for schools to reduce
the amount of financial aid they offer.
And the University was one of those
schools that increased its financial aid
budget at a higher rate than tuition in
its general budget released in July.
"There was an increase in real sup-
port,"Provost Paul Courant said.
Not only does McKeon's proposal
fail to take financial aid into
account, but its correlation of cost
increases with the CPI or inflation
is inaccurate, said Courant, who is
also an economist.
Courant said that-wages schools
must pay their faculty and staff always
increase faster than prices, while pro-
ductivity levels are relatively the same.
He added that the CPI is a measure of
average economic costs, but to main-
tain its academic quality the University
must keep up with the rate of advance-
ment in knowledge across the world.
"We don't stop studying classical
music when hip-hop comes along, we
actually study both," he said.
Additionally, punishing schools that
increase costs at twice the CPI by tak-
ing away another source of revenue in
federal assistance would create a "dis-
aster" and would decrease the overall
quality of education, Courant said.
"When you increase price controls,
which is what these would be, you get
a reduction in quality,"he said.
And such price controls would cre-
ate a "downward spiral" hurting public
institutions more than private schools,
which can rely on higher levels of pri-
vate endowments, Weygand said.
But this scenario is not likely,
because the legislation probably will
not pass into law, said Weygand, a for-
mer congressman. Many legislators
will "look at this as being a concept for
accountability, but not the proper way
to go,"he said.

Ann Arbor resident Nick Dean enjoys a meal while being watched by faces on a large mural at the corner of

State and Liberty


Continued from Page 1A
research scientist at the Center for
Human Growth and Development,
said scientists receive teaching
exemptions if they are receiving
money from outside grants to pursue
their work. He said such work helps
the University enormously.
"Faculty are expected to obtain
between 25 to 100 percent of their
salary from research grants," he
said. "The University benefits when
faculty do research with funds
obtained from federal or private
foundations, because they bring
funds to employ undergraduate and
graduate students and researchers.
They also bring additional moneys
to the University in the form of
overhead charges and the research
findings become contributions to
In fact, Frisancho said he thinks
one of the problems troubling the
new Life Sciences Institute is
recruiting prestigious scientists
because such professors may desire'

further reductions in teaching.
They face "potential problems
because faculty do not want to
teach," Richard Hume, chair of the
Molecular, Cellular and Develop-
mental Biology Department.
"There's a very slight component
of that, but I don't think it's a major
issue," Hume added.
But LSI officials gave swift
denials to any problems with recruit-
ing for the institute, which is set to
open Sept. 15.
"We really had a great year with
recruiting," LSI Managing Director
Liz Barry said, noting the nine fac-
ulty hired. She added that a goal of
25 scientists might not be reached
until 2010.
"Many of them actually want to
teach ... I have not seen anybody
who has found that an issue," said
LSI researcher and biochemistry
Prof. Rowena Matthews, adding
that her teaching load will not
change because she is only switch-
ing her research component from
the Biochemistry Department to the

Even chemistry Prof. Gary Glick,
who recently decided not to enter
the LSI, said teaching had no part
in his decision.
"From a teaching perspective and
a financial perspective, (LSI) was
more beneficial," Glick said, adding
that his teaching load would have
been reduced to one class a year as
opposed to two. "The LSI compo-
nent would have left me free do
research," since LSI would have paid
50 percent of his salary.
Hume said that occasionally there
is a professor who enjoys his teach-
ing load less than others. He noted a

case of one professor in his depart-
ment last year who left for a more
research-oriented institution.
"The individual got the least pleas-
ure of undergraduate teaching and the
students sensed that," Hume said.
Hume added that while some pro-
fessors may grumble about advan-
tages certain professors might
possess, they recognize that people
choose their jobs and different
lifestyles to highlight different pro-
fessors' strengths, even if it means
higher salaries.
"Money is only one indication of
job satisfaction," he said.

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