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July 22, 1982 - Image 6

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Michigan Daily, 1982-07-22

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O)pinion
Page 6 Thursday, July 22, 1982 The Michigan Daily

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The Michigan Daily
Vol. XCII, No. 45-S
Ninety-two Years of Editorial Freedom _
Edited and managed by students
at the University of Michigan
Reluctant assent
T HE SIMPLE FACT is, times are tough.
unfortunately, the University has not been
able to escape the cold economic realities that
have afflicted both the state and the nation, and
now faces yet another sustantial hike in tuition.
Today the University administration takes a
proposal to the Regents to raise tuition by 15
percent. Gut reaction asks that the Daily con-
demn the proposal. Economic realities,
however; demand that we give it our reluctant
assent.
The University has two major sources for its
budget: state allocations and student tuition.
Inadequate funding from the state in recent
years has forced students to shoulder more and
more of the University's expenses. That trend
has continued this year with state allocations
likely to remain the same as last year, while in-
flation gallops along at more than seven per-
cent.
No one wants a steep tuition increase, but the
fundamental question remains: From what
other source will the money come? Lansing has
turned a deaf ear to the Universitv's financia

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Tuition hike too steep
students as the prime source of dships on students and their
By Jamie Moeller support for the University. families. Such a belief shows
The most dramatic example of either a gross lack of understan-
Today the University ad- this shift occured last year when, ding or a severe lack of sen-
nistration will ask the Regents to make up for a real decrease in sitivity on their part.
approve a tuition hike of 15' state funding, tuition was raised In essence, students are being
rcent for every student. This an unprecedented 18 per- forced to support a University
orbitant increase continues the cent-almost double the 1981 rate which is being drastically
ttern of tuition hikes above the of inflation. This year, however, reshaped and where it often ap-
te inflation established over the state funding will not decline, but pears that students mean only
st several years. As a result of will remain at about the same one thing-tuition dollars. As
ese increases, students are level. Despite this fact, the part of the $5.4 million in cuts this
ing forced to shoulder an in- Regents are again about to raise year, the Office of Student Ser-
easing share of the Univer- tuition at almost twice the rate of vices was cut 26 percent-more
y's financial burden. inflation. than any other unit. Units that
In the past, these increases There is no question that the specialize in teaching such as the
ve been justified as a means of University is in dire financial art and natural resources schools
aking up for lost revenue from straits even with stable state ap- are being reviewed for
e state. However, in light of the propriations. This, of course, is elimination while units
cts that state funding will public rationale for the ad- specializing in profitable resear-
main stable, tuition increases ministration's plan to cut $20 ch are being bolstered. Finally,
ve averaged over 15 percent million of programs and while student fee support forThe
ring the past five years, finan- reallocate it to "high priority University has increased
al aid is being drastically areas." The plan is well under- dramatically, funds for instruc-
duced and the University is in way with cuts of $5.4 million in tion have declined as a portion of
e midst of a plan to slash $20 programs already executed. the budget while research expen-
illion worth of programs, it is It would seem that the com- ditures have increased.
ne to call into question the need bination for the reallocation plan The administration is taking
ranother huge tuition increase. and stable state funding would from students with both hands.
Tuition at the University is eliminate the justification for With one hand, they are cutting
rrently the highest of any state- another exorbitant tuition hike. away essential parts of a great
onsored university in the coun- Simply because the justification university and altering the value
y. This has been the result of a no longer exists, however, has not of an education and degree from
cade of inadequate state fun- deterred the administration from the University. With the other
ng being increasingly replaced proposing another double-digit hand, they are forcing students to
'student fees. At one time, state increase. pay more while receiving less.
propriation dollars accounted At a time when students can Before the Regents blithely
r over 60 percent of the Univer- least afford it, they are being for- rubber-stamp another exorbitant
y's General Fund, or operating' ced to carry a greater financial tuition hike they should seriously
dget. Last year state money burden to attend the University. consider these issues. They also
ade up only 50 percent of the Financial aid programs are being should seriously consider the fact
idget, while student fees ac- drastically reduced at both state that as elected officials they are
unted for almost 40 percent of and federal levels. Employment responsible to all people of the
e budget-up from around 30 prospects for students hoping to state which-they seem to
rcent less than ten years ago. It support themselves are slim. forget-includes students.
clear that the University ad- Despite this, the administration Moeller, a graduate of the
inistration is relying less upon insists that a 15 percent tuition University, does research for
e state and more upon its hike will not cause undue har- MSA.

woes. The only alternative to higher tuition is a
wholesale cutting of programs and faculty. The
University is having enough trouble digesting
its current reallocation.
The ugly specter of the tuition hike is, of cour-
se, its effect upon low-and middle-income
students. The increase, combined with large,
callous cuts in federal student financial aid
programs threaten to deny poorer students an
opportunity for an education at the University.
In the face of that threat, the administration
needs to raise University financial aid at least
in accordance with the tuition hike, and even
further, if possible, to cover the loss of federal
support. The University has a duty to the state
to see that this public institution does not
become a bastion for the rich.
As economic uncertainties continue to wreak
havoc at the University, there are no easy
solutions. Wholesale cuts are not the answer
however, as they will erode the excellence
students expect when they come to the Univer
sity. For now, tuition hikes, along with more
support for financial aid,; are the only ways to
meet the University's pressing needs.

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