Update on Michigan's Budget Crisis and Its Implications for Tech
Editor's Note: The following message from President Glenn Mroz is being distributed to Michigan Tech alumni and friends.
Michigan's legislature and Governor Jennifer Granholm remain deadlocked over how to eliminate the state's budget deficit of about $1 billion. By law, the Michigan budget must be balanced. The Governor's original plan to increase revenues and cut spending, which Tech has supported, has met opposition in the House and Senate. Last week, the Michigan House offered a bill that would reduce higher education funding by $43.2 million. For Michigan Tech, this means a $1.2-million budget reduction.
The House and Senate legislation is at odds with Governor Granholm's position that the number of college graduates in Michigan must double for the state to effectively compete in a global economy. The most prosperous states are those with the greatest number of college graduates. In the future, our children's success will be ever more dependent upon higher education. Reducing state support places an increased burden on college students and families, as universities will be forced to increase tuition and fees well above the rate of inflation. Sadly, this will limit access to a college education for many and will reduce the number of college graduates in Michigan.
Here at Tech, we are working now to minimize the effects of these proposed cuts. By pursuing growth in research programs, increasing our fundraising efforts and reducing costs, we have laid the groundwork for a more robust financial position. Nonetheless, the greatest opportunity to meet our budget needs in the immediate future is from the State of Michigan, which accounts for approximately 40 percent of Michigan Tech’s general fund.
This is truly a turning point--our elected representatives are struggling to set the priorities, your priorities, for funding higher education. I encourage you to reflect on what Michigan Tech has meant in your life, and to let the Governor and your legislators know the critical role of higher education for the State of Michigan.
Glenn D. Mroz