Skubick: University Presidents Flunk Snyder’s Higher Ed Budget

(WLNS) – The president of Michigan State University is telling 6 News tonight that the governor’s higher education budget recommendations “don’t make sense.” Dr. Lou Anna K. Simon joined the president of the U of M and other schools making a budget pitch to the House and Senate higher education budget committees. 6 News Capitol correspondent Tim Skubick is on the story for us tonight.

MSU president Lou Anna K. Simon was to the point when asked if the numbers added up. “It doesn’t make a lot of sense,” said Simon.

One by one the university presidents paraded before the lawmakers who will decide how much should be spent on the state’s 15 universities.

On February 11 the governor proposed a 2 percent boost in state aid but only if the schools agreed to cap their tuition hikes at 2.8%.

The MSU president observes that the governor gave more money last year and offered a higher tuition cap than the one he is suggesting this year. “So when you had a six percent increase you had a 3.2 percent cap and now you have a 2 percent increases with a cap of 2.8 percent. What sense does that make?,” said president Lou Anna K. Simon, MSU.

Making his debut before the budget committees, the new U of M president, Dr. Mark Schlissel was tight-lipped about what he wants for his school.
Reporter: “Is 2 percent enough?”
Pres. Schlissel: “I think the university would like to recover funding to where it had been in previous decades but the positive momentum is important to maintain.”
Reporter: “Will you ask for more?”
Pres. Schlissel: “I’m not willing to discuss in public private conversations with the governor and legislative leaders.”

The universities want to keep tuition down but Dr. Mike Boulous, the lobbyist for the college presidents, believes there is a consensus to be flexible on the 2.8 percent cap. “I think if we could get a higher number that would work toward our benefit and that’s what you’ll hear the presidents say today.”

Of course, higher education is just like every other entity getting state assistance. Everybody wants more, whether they get it is another question.

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