Michigan Tech Prepares to Maintain Outstanding Education Despite Proposed Budget Cuts

By Jennifer Donovan | Published

Governor Rick Snyder has announced his proposed budget for next year, including a 15 percent overall reduction in state appropriations for universities.  This budget actually would reduce Michigan Technological University’s state allocation from $47.9 million in fiscal 2011 to $37.4 million next year—a decrease of 22 percent. 

Under the Governor’s budget proposal, an incentive fund of $83 million would be made available to universities that raise their tuition less than 7 percent (which is the statewide average of all state universities’ tuition increases over the past five years).  Michigan Tech would be eligible for $3.32 million from this tuition restraint incentive, bringing the University’s total state appropriation to $40.8 million, which equals the Governor’s recommended 15 percent cut.

The Governor’s proposed budget, which will now be considered by the state legislature, also suggests budget parameters for the following year, based on a university funding formula to be developed by the State Budget Director’s office. Under this formula, the Governor indicated that state funding for universities would not decrease again in fiscal year 2013. 

“We are looking forward to conversations with the Legislature regarding relief on unfunded mandates,” said Michigan Tech president Glenn Mroz. “We have anticipated and planned for state spending reductions for several years now, and the only real question was what the dollar reduction in the governor’s budget would be.” 

The Executive Team will be reviewing its budget reduction plan with the Board of Trustees next week at a Board retreat.

“Our task in the coming days and months is to choose the best financial options for Michigan Tech, so that our programs continue to instill the knowledge and confidence that graduates need to be top-ranked in science, technology, engineering, math and management,” Mroz said.

According to Mroz, the critical issue is much broader than balancing the state budget.  “It’s really a matter of national priorities,” he said.  “As a state and a nation, we need to clearly express our priorities and fund them, especially when finances are difficult.  People need to ask themselves:  What are the things we need to do to be an economic powerhouse again?  Michigan and all other states need to stay committed to educating students to thrive in an intensely competitive world.”

Mroz will hold an open campus forum to discuss this at 2 p.m. Monday, February 21 in Ballroom A of the Memorial Union Building on the Michigan Tech campus.

The Board of Trustees will consider Michigan Tech’s fiscal year 2012 budget at its April 29, 2011 meeting.

Michigan Technological University is a public research university, home to more than 7,000 students from 60 countries. Founded in 1885, the University offers more than 120 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in science and technology, engineering, forestry, business and economics, health professions, humanities, mathematics, and social sciences. Our campus in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula overlooks the Keweenaw Waterway and is just a few miles from Lake Superior.