public universities

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Kalamazoo Promise is expanding to include more than a dozen private colleges in Michigan.

The Promise provides scholarship money for Kalamazoo public school students to attend college. Until now, the Promise has made it possible for students to afford only public colleges and universities. 

But today, the Promise’s Janice Brown announced 15 schools, including Detroit Mercy, Hillsdale College, Hope College and Adrian College, will start matching Promise scholarships beginning in the fall of 2015.

Yesterday, I talked about the challenges the University of Michigan’s new president faces. One of those is, of course, the fact that it is becoming increasingly difficult to afford an education.

That provoked a lot of reaction, and I was surprised by the tone of a lot of it.

Specifically, many people feel that especially with the lagging economy, it makes no sense for students to study things that won’t clearly pay off in a job.

"There's nothing wrong with art appreciation. There are plenty of books, DVDs and YouTube clips out there," one man said. But he thought it was outrageous that someone would spend a vast amount of money on something "that will turn out to be a nice hobby," and then "complain about the lack of job opportunities."

Sarah Kerson / Michigan Radio

That's the largest fundraising goal ever for an American public university, and university officials say $1.7 billion has already been raised during what they call a two-year "silent" phase. Included in that $1.7 billion are several high-profile donations from alumni like Stephen Ross and President Mary Sue Coleman herself.

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What does the future hold for public universities?

A recent report from Moody's suggests the future is very uncertain for public universities: enrollment is flat, revenue is stagnant, and expenses grew nearly twice as fast as inflation.

Are public colleges on a "path to economic oblivion," as the Chronicle of Higher Education puts it? And how are Michigan's public colleges and universities faring?

Dan Hurley grew up and was educated in Michigan. Today he is with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, where he's the Director of State Relations and Policy Analysis. He joined us today from Washington.

Listen to the full interview above.

A recent report from Moody's suggests the future is very uncertain for public universities. Today we talked about the future of public universities in Michigan.

And, poet Keith Taylor stopped by the studios to introduce us to some Michigan must-reads for the month of October.

Also, despite our troubled economy, Michigan franchises are going strong. We spoke to DBusiness editor R.J. King about the 2013 Michigan Franchise Report.

First on the show, it’s Day Seven of the partial government shutdown.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew is warning that lawmakers are “playing with fire” and he’s asking Congress to pass legislation to re-open the government, and to increase the nation’s debt limit.

Lew says President Obama has no intentions of linking either bill to Republican demands to change the health care law.

This comes as Republican House Speaker John Boehner rules out a House vote on a temporary spending bill without concessions from the President.

So, that’s where things stand as the government shutdown moves into its second week. Michigan Democratic Representative Dan Kildee joined us from D.C. to discuss the issue. 

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We've heard about the tuition increases for other public universities in Michigan.

Tomorrow, the board of regents for Wayne State University will vote on that school's increase.

David Jesse over at the Detroit Free Press reports it could be a big one:

Photo courtesy of the University of Michigan

Michigan’s three biggest universities are producing young entrepreneurs twice as fast as the national average.

That’s according to a report by East Lansing-based Anderson Economic Group released today at a conference of business leaders and politicians on Mackinac Island.

Debbie Dingell is chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

“What’s clear is that we in Michigan have young people with ideas, and we’re giving them a university system that’s giving them the tools that they need to actually go out and start that business,” said Debbie Dingell, chair of the Wayne State University Board of Governors.

The report says almost half of the new businesses started by college grads have been started or acquired in Michigan.

University officials say they’ve revamped their curriculum in recent years to encourage entrepreneurship among students.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Yesterday, Republicans on a Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee voted to punish universities they believe are trying to avoid the state's new right-to-work law.

The state's new right-to-work law goes into effect on March 28. It outlaws contract agreements with unions that require dues or fees as a condition of employment.

But some public schools and universities are working out new contracts ahead of the deadline.

Wayne State University and the University of Michigan recently struck contracts with their unions causing some legislators to cry foul.

The subcommittee voted to strip public universities of 15 percent of their funding if recently passed contracts or contract extensions did not achieve at least a 10 percent savings.

At this point, it's just a subcommittee vote. To go into effect, the bill would have to pass both the state House and Senate and then be signed by Governor Rick Snyder.

MLive's Jonathan Oosting wrote about Gov. Snyder's thoughts on the bill:

"It's early in the legislative process," Snyder said Tuesday evening when asked about a proposed higher education budget bill that could cost his alma mater, the University of Michigan, millions in state funding next fiscal year.

"What I would say is, if people are coming in and bargaining in good faith and showing real benefits, I don't believe people should be penalized. Now, the real issue would be if somebody were doing that with no substance to simply extend the date, then I could see legislators having a concern. So it's just something to watch in the legislative process."

If it's passed, the universities stand to lose a lot of money:

The University of Michigan...could reportedly lose up to $41.1 million in state funding... [and Wayne State University] could lose up to $27.5 million of a possible $184 million in state funding next year under the proposed budget bill.

On a 4-3 party-line vote, a Michigan House Appropriations subcommittee voted to punish universities the Republicans believe are trying to avoid the state's new right-to-work law.

That law goes into effect on March 28th.

Wayne State University and the University of Michigan have struck contracts with their unions ahead of that deadline.

Public universities that signed new contracts or contract extensions that did not achieve at least a 10 percent savings would face a 15 percent cut in state funding under a budget bill approved this morning.

Baker College of Flint / Facebook.com

When a child grows up in the foster care system, they face some unique challenges as college students.  They may lack the financial and emotional support their classmates get from families.

The Michigan Department of Human Services is trying help them out.

They awarded seven universities in Michigan shares of an $800,000 grant.

The money will pay on-campus coaches at Michigan State University, Wayne State University, Baker College of Flint, Ferris State University, Saginaw Valley University, Eastern Michigan University and the University of Michigan-Flint who will work with former foster youth.

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Gov. Rick Snyder and Republicans in the legislature made significant cuts to the state's public university system when they first came into office.

As part of the cuts, they set up bonus payments to schools if they met certain performance measures, and if they kept their tuition increases in check.

Earlier this month, the State House Fiscal Agency  released a breakdown of how much each school will get in bonus payments.

All 15 public universities kept their tuition increases at or below 4 percent, so all 15 schools will receive a 'tuition restraint' bonus payment.

This fiscal year, the pot for 'tuition restraint' bonus money is set at $9.1 million for all 15 universities.

Central Michigan will receive the biggest payment. From the Detroit Free Press:

Central Michigan University's decision to keep its tuition rate increase for this school year lower than that of other state schools is paying off to the tune of almost $1.8 million in extra state aid from a fund set up to reward universities for smaller hikes.

CMU raised its tuition rate by 2%, the lowest in the state. It will get 19.6% of the bonus money.

The top five schools for keeping tuition hikes in check (and their associated bonus payments) are:

  1. Central Michigan University -  $1.8 million
  2. Ferris State University - $1.3 million
  3. UM in Ann Arbor - $1.1 million
  4. Lake Superior State - $1.0 million
  5. Oakland - $930,000

The Detroit Free Press has a breakdown of tuition increases and bonus payments for all 15 public universities.

Andrew Horn / wikimedia commons

Making a case for in-state tuition at the University of Michigan has been tough battle for some students - especially undocumented immigrants.

Daniel Morales was an undocumented resident when he was accepted by the University of Michigan, but he was told he'd have to pay international tuition despite growing up in Michigan.

Morales petitioned the U of M Board of Regents for policy changes, and it seems like they're listening.

More from the Detroit Free Press:

The Board of Regents asked Provost Phil Hanlon to prepare a report on tuition equality for undocumented students, which could be presented as soon as its meeting next week.

It's unclear whether that will lead to a policy change at U-M, which currently charges students without citizenship or a green card out-of-state tuition.

Morales has said that U of M's tuition policies are unjust.

"This is a civil rights fight in which we are restraining a certain population of our community because of something that is not within their control."

Western Michigan University already charges in-state tuition for undocumented Michigan students.

CMU

The Central Michigan University Faculty Association held a strike on the first day of classes last August. The union said the CMU administration was not bargaining on their new contract in good faith.

A judge ordered the striking faculty members back to work and a state appointed fact finder heard both sides of the grievances in early September.

Now that fact finder, Barry Goldman, has let issued a report siding with the CMU administration on salary and benefit issues, according to Lindsay Knake of the Saginaw News.

More from the Saginaw News:

With salary adjustments, Goldman acknowledged in the report CMU has $228 million in unrestricted net assets, but said the university cannot be as generous with the funds as it appears.

“The CMU proposal of a zero increase in the first year and modest increases in subsequent years is not an unreasonable offer, all things considered. Circumstances are bad and getting worse. It would be extremely unwise for CMU to eat its seed corn,” Goldman’s statement said.

The administration’s offer includes a wage freeze for one year with increases equal to 4 percentage points over three years.

Golman also said the faculty should accept the health care plan being offered by the administration. His findings are non-binding, according to the Saginaw News.

Matt Newton / Creative Commons

Although Michigan universities face huge funding cuts from the state, this rate hike has been years in the making. The change will affect a few thousand undergraduates studying at Western’s business school and school of fine arts.