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April 01, 2004 - Image 5

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2004-04-01

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Oj EThe Michigan Daily - Thursday, April 1,2004- 5A
. OR DECADES, THE UNIVERSITY'S SUCCESS HAS
* PROVEN WRONG THOSE VOICES CLAIMING THAT
EPU ND * GOVERNMENT CANNOT PROVIDE ITS CITIZENS WITH
A HIGH-QUALITY EDUCATION. THE UNIVERSITY DOES
} > MORE RESEARCH THAN ANY OTHER U.S. UNIVERSITY,
AND ITS ACADEMIC PROGRAMS COMPETE WITH THOSE OF
THE MOST ELITE PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS. NOw, FUNDING IS
EVAPORATING AND EXPENSES ARE ON THE RISE. WHAT IS
AT STAKE IS NOT MERELY THE UNIVERSITY'S ABILITY TO
PROVIDE ITS STUDENTS WITH A HIGH-QUALITY
EDUCATION, BUT THE REPUTATION AND VIABILITY OF THE
TI COUNTRY'S SYSTEM OF PUBLIC EDUCATION.

EDUCA

VIEWPOINT
Higher education should
be a funding priority
BY Liz BRATER
The higher education appropriation can only be understood in
the context of the ongoing state budget crisis. Although the state
budget in Michigan is one that rises and falls with the fortunes of
the auto industry, the deficits that we are now experiencing will
not go away, even if the economy improves dramatically in the
near future. During the 1990s, the previous administration and
Legislature cut taxes continuously, culminating in the 0.5 percent
cut in the income tax, which goes into effect fully by the end of
this year. This cut alone will cost $800 million a year, which is a
large proportion of the total deficit that we have experienced
annually. Thus revenues have been cut below the level needed to
supply existing services.
I voted against this tax cut in 1999 because I was concerned
about the effect it would have on education, health care, the social-
service safety net, environmental protection and other vital pro-
grams. The tax cut is not even that beneficial to most Michigan
families. A family with an income of $50,000 will save about $250
per year with this tax cut but will pay much more in increased
tuition costs to send a child to a public college or university.
I am also concerned about the way in which we are appropriat-
ing our increasingly scarce resources. In recent years, one out of
five of our general fund dollars has gone to corrections, which is
about the same amount we are spending on higher education. But
the corrections budget has far outpaced the higher education
budget in growth. The Justice Policy Institute shows that between
1985 and 2000, the spending for higher education increased by
27 percent, while the corrections budget grew by 227 percent. In
the 2003-04 fiscal year, higher education funding decreased by
11.2 percent, while corrections spending increased. It makes
much more sense to invest in our young people through early
childhood, K-12 and higher education, than to warehouse nonvio-
lent people who have ended up in prison because of substance
abuse or mental illness. The Michigan Senate recently took a step
in the right direction in this regard, adopting drug court legislation
that would allow drug users to be diverted to treatment programs.
Investing in higher education makes good economic sense. A
study commissioned by the Michigan Economic Development
Council and the Presidents Council found that every dollar the
state invests in higher education yields $26 in economic benefits
in the community. Michigan has the dubious distinction of being a
state that one young person is leaving every 40 minutes, and Gov.
Jennifer Granholm has set a goal of fostering "cool cities" to help
stem this exodus. Meanwhile, 79 percent of those graduating in
high-tech fields will stay in Michigan, so why not put our money
into these programs?
The University of Michigan is our flagship public university.
Students from all over the state, the nation and the world come to
study in Ann Arbor, and many of them will stay in Michigan,
adding to its economy, diversity and overall quality of life. All of
our public universities are a vital part of the health of this state,
and I will continue to seek better funding for higher education. If
you come from a Michigan community and would like to help,
contact your legislators and let them know what state funding for
higher education means to you.

SOURCES OF THE UNIVERSITY'S GENERAL FUND REVENUE,
FISCAL YEAR 2002-03
1%
IOTHER REVENUE
APPROPRIATIONS
54%
TUITION AND FEES
12% ---- -
INDIRECT COST RECOVERY
(PARTIAL REIMBURSEMENT OF
GENERAL FUND COSTS
ASSOCIATED WTTH EXTERNALLY
FUNDED RESEARCH) Data source: Uriversity of Michigan, Office of Budget and Planning

VIEWPOINT
America needs to re-commit
itself to investing in the future

USES OF THE1
19%
STUDENT SUPPORT
SERVICES, BUSINESS
OPERATIONS AND
GENERAL
ADMINISTRATIVE
SUPPORT
1%
RESEARCH UNITS
9%
LIBRARIES AND
MUSEUMS

UNIVERSITY'S GENERAL FUND REVENUE,
FISCAL YEAR 2002-03
4%
OTHER (INCLUDES UTILITIES
AND DEBT SERVICE)

67%
SCHOOLS AND
COLLEGES

BY JAMES DUDERSTADT
Foremost on the minds of most
university leaders these days are the
devastating cuts in appropriations
as the states struggle to cope with
crushing budget deficits and the
erosion of private support from
gifts and endowment income asso-
ciated with a weak economy. Of
course, the optimist might suggest
that this is just part of the ebb and
flow of economic cycles. In bad
times, state governments and
donors cut support, hoping to
restore it once again in good times.
But this time it may be different.
There is an increasing sense of pes-
simism about the restoration of ade-
quate state support, particularly for
flagship public research universities
such as the University of Michigan.
Yet there is a certain irony here,
because society's dependence upon
higher education in general and the
research university in particular has
never been stronger. Today we are
evolving rapidly into a post-indus-
trial, knowledge-based society, a
shift in culture and technology as
profound as the shift that took place
a century ago when our agrarian
society evolved into an industrial
nation.
A radically new system for creat-
ing wealth has evolved that depends
upon the creation and application of
new knowledge. In a very real
sense, we are entering a new age, an
age of knowledge, in which the key
strategic resource necessary for
prosperity has become knowledge
itself - educated people and their
ideas. Unlike natural resources,
such as iron and oil, that have driv-
en earlier economic transforma-
tions, knowledge is inexhaustible.
The more it is used, the more it
multiplies and expands.
But knowledge can be created,
absorbed and applied only by the
educated. Hence schools, in gener-
al, and universities in particular,
will play increasingly important
roles as our societies enter this new
age.
Yet today the United States,
which once viewed education as
critical to national security, seems

more concerned with sustaining the
social benefits (and tax policies)
demanded by an aging baby boomer
population (and to hell with the
kids). The priorities of those of us
in this impacted wisdom group are
clearly heath care, prisons, home-
land security and reduced tax bur-
dens for the near term rather than
the education of the next generation
and the future. This situation is
unlikely to change until a new gen-
eration establishes a more appropri-
ate balance between consuming for
our present desires and investing for
our children's future.
This is particularly important for
the leaders of America's public uni-
versities. Today, in the face of limit-
ed resources and more pressing
social priorities, the century-long
expansion of public support of
higher education has slowed. We
now have at least two decades of
experience that would suggest that
the states are simply not able - or
willing - to provide the resources
to sustain the capacity and .quality
of their public universities.
Most pessimistically, one might
even conclude that America's great
experiment of building world-class
public universities supported prima-
rily by tax dollars has come to an
end. It simply may not be possible
to justify the level of tax support
necessary to sustain the quality of
these institutions in the face of
other public priorities, such as
health care, K-12 education and
public infrastructure needs - par-
ticularly during a time of slowly ris-
ing or stagnant economic activity
and an aging generation that appar-
ently cares little about the future it
leaves for its children. Flagship
public universities, such as the Uni-
versity of Michigan, must come to
grips with this reality and take
those actions, both courageous and
no doubt controversial, necessary to
preserve their quality and capacity
to serve future generations in the
face of declining state support.
Duderstadt served as the University's
president from 1988 to
1996 and is currently a University
professor of Science and Engineering.

e

Q k

r
w
i
SAM BUTLER - DAILY

Brater (D-Ann Arbor) is a Michan state
senator representing the 18th district.

UNDERGRADUATE FIRST-YEAR
FRESHMAN TUITION RATES AT
BIG TEN UNIVERSITIES
0 3% 6% 9% 12% 15%
FOUR~ AVE~AR E ANR4AL PF.R~CtNTAINCREA'

VIEWPOINT
MSA will be an advocate for students and the University

BY JASON MIRONOV
As you walk to class, you are disgusted at the sheer
amount of garbage that is strewn across the Diag. Hav-
ing it cleaned only once a month is simply not enough.
When you arrive at your psychology discussion, your
comments are often ignored because of the 40 other peo-
ple who are forced to take this section because so few
have been offered. And when your student group goes to
book a room in the Union, you realize you cannot, as the
$140 necessary to acquire meeting space is absent from
your account. Think budget cuts aren't going to affect
you? Think again.
Unfortunately, budget cuts are ripping through the
University with no clear end in sight. If the money is
drained any faster, you're going to hear a whooshing
sound when you walk past the administrative offices in
Fleming. To add to the economic strife, the newly imple-
mented tuition cap, while a good idea in theory, will mean
further incursions in our academic and extra-curricular
outlets. Perhaps the hardest part of any financial crisis is
the need to prioritize which facets of campus will lose the
precious dollars that ensure their existence. In essence,
the provost will choose who lives and who dies.
Like an Atkins diet fanatic, the University will be
attempting to trim fat right and left. But the inherent flaw
until now is the absence of students in the budget alloca-
tion process. While independent units will lobby the

provost about their respective departments, the amount of
student input has arguably been negligible. Student Voices
in Action, a group of activists hoping to install a student
voice, should be applauded for shoving their foot in a
door that would be closed without their dedication.
The Michigan Student Assembly is going to attempt to
increase student group funding, not only for the summer
but also for next year. This aligns with our responsibility to
the student body to expand education outside of the class-
room. We will do our part to provide student services at lit-
tle or no cost to students. At the same time, we expect the
administration to uphold its part of the bargain and imple-
ment student input in every decision-making process.
The procedure will begin with conversations, letters
and educational forums advocating for rights of students
to receive an educational experience that should reach far
outside the bounds of Angell Hall. The government, the
University and the administration have a duty to us to pro-
vide an environment where we not only feel comfortable
but empowered.
In an effort to offset the damage that is about to be
incurred, MSA will better define itself, not only as a
source of student group funding but as a lobbying arm of
the student body. In the next few weeks, MSA executives
are going to develop a strategic plan to help cushion the
blow of absentee state appropriations. MSA will plan to
coordinate student groups in an effort to truly represent
the diversity of our campus. This "steering committee"
will help articulate a plan of action to save higher educa-

tion and student life at the University. Eventually, the Uni-
versity will team up with counterparts all over the Big Ten
and across the United States. Every public university in
the country is fighting this battle - but together we can
win the war.
In the fall, MSA will pressure Lansing and Washing-
ton to address higher education funding issues. As respon-
sible members of the community, it is our duty to register
and vote in elections and keep a careful eye on local
politicians. Engage your elected representatives. Find out
how they feel about higher education funding and the
University community. Invite leaders to campus so they
can appreciate the uniqueness of student life here.
If there is one thing that you should get out of this
viewpoint, it is a plea for your assistance. In order to attain
success, we need to defend ourselves. Our strength can be
derived from the number of people who choose to partici-
pate. I would encourage every student to pick up the
phone, send e-mail, go to a meeting and send a very clear
message to those who make decisions that affect our lives.
The students of the University will not tolerate contin-
ued attacks on student life. We listen, we vote and we
demand recognition of the immense value of our institu-
tion and expect increased appropriations so we may con-
tinue to foster and educate responsible and well-rounded
members of society.

Mironov is the president of the Michigan
StudentAssembly andaBusiness School junior

I

ANNUAL STATE APPROPRIATIONS
TO THE UNIVERSITY
SINCE 1960
0
~s

A CLOSER LOOK:
50 STATE APPROPRIATIONS TO THE UNIVERSITY SINCE 1990
X40

3

m

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