Budget Differences between MSU and Michigan

Submitted by bouje on March 2nd, 2010 at 9:59 AM

This is why Michigan State will always be second fiddle to Michigan and why we are the "Leaders and the Best".


Also, I guess that again this begs the question: "With the state of Michigan continuing to make cuts every year to funding should the University privatize?"

I think that it should but that's just like my opinion man.


turd ferguson

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:29 AM ^

put me down for a "hell no" to the privatize question. i've spent time at both public and private universities, and there's something unique, cool, and special about the top-flight public ivies like U-M. instead of just serving tuition-paying parents and research-funding foundations, they kind of act as guardians of certain social values (meritocracy, equality, free speech, etc.) and as active participants in their communities and states. you don't get that sense from even some of the top private schools.

on another note, MSC & company are bad-ass fundraisers.

Tshimanga Cowabunga

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:48 AM ^

not so sure it would "piss off the entire state" for Michigan to privatize. I remember hearing in the last couple years or so that the state was thinking of asking the University to privatize so it could save that money in budget cuts. The state knows UofM doesn't need it but appreciates the great education it gives to in state students on the cheap

david from wyoming

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:53 AM ^

I few budget people in Lansing might like the idea, but what about every parent of a high school kid that sees tuition at the best school in the state double or triple? A very large amount of the public opinion of UofM is that it is one of the best public universities in the world. I think changing to a private one would have far reaching effects on public opinion that would be very hard to predict.


March 2nd, 2010 at 1:13 PM ^

IIRC, that was a list of several items that the state could undertake to cut educational expenses. It was explicitly the last thing the state would want to do, and the report stated that although U of M was on the list because it could survive going private (unlike any other state school here) it would not be beneficial for anyone were it to do so.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:49 AM ^

Amen. Let's not get carried away with how awesome we are.

Also, I've heard that converting to a private university would be near-impossible as the state has an ownership stake in many of our assets (e.g., buildings, land, etc.). I don't know how true that is though; it comes from an unreliable source (my dad).


March 2nd, 2010 at 1:39 PM ^

I can't imagine that the property would be an issue at all. The state would need to approve our becoming private, it's not like we could declare ourselves private, so if it were to happen (which it almost certainly would not), there would be a lot of negotiations between the state and the university about how it would happen and I can't imagine that they wouldn't involve the University being given the land by the state.

To handicap the University at all (by forcing us to lease the land) would be a deal-killer and keeping the University prosperous is extremely important to the state--we dump a lot of money back in. The advantage to our becoming private is that the state would stop needing to pay us, they'd be willing to cede the land to make that happen (which would not really be unfair in any way--the original 40 acres were donated for the use of the university and the university has used its own funds to buy much, if not all, of the rest).

Tshimanga Cowabunga

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:12 AM ^

actually e-mailed this article this morning by my local alumni club. Its great that UofM is using the economic downturn to poach the best teachers from around the country. Glad to see something good coming out of it at least.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:13 AM ^

I think it's for the best the cut some of those programs. While it's nice for some schools to offer niche programs like that, I feel it's more lucrative for smaller private schools to take that role and specialize. Others just needed to go: jazz voice?

Now if they were to open up a brewing major, then I think they'd hit the cash cow of all cash cows.

david from wyoming

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:21 AM ^

Targeted cuts include American studies, geological science, business pre-law and the College of Education's deaf education program, as well as the veterinary technology bachelor's degree.

Geological science and business pre-law don't seem very niche to me. While not critical, I would not be happy to see those programs go from any school that has them. I few years ago, to save some money, the University of Wyoming proposed to cut the physics department. I would not have come here for grad school if there wasn't a physics department, not because I'm a physicists, but how could a school take itself seriously without one.


March 2nd, 2010 at 11:06 AM ^

I think it is always a bad thing to cut departments but personally business pre-law seems like it should be on the first list of majors to go. The pre-law major in general seems somewhat worthless to me. It is nothing I have against lawyers (as I know many and have 2 in my family) but law schools take people with such a wide variety of undergraduate majors that I see no reason to major in pre-law. You can be a history major, math or science, engineering or political science just to name a few (dozen). Pretty much whatever interests you would be a fine major in college before heading off to law school.


March 2nd, 2010 at 12:35 PM ^

I didn't mean the all encompassing for each major. Geological science is one of the few that might be worth keeping. It really depends on its focus at State. The scraped the geology department at my current school and have the courses that remain under the chemistry department's umbrella. They only teach a few lower level courses and the rest are related to predominantly to either

  1. Education majors as a Earth Science/scientific method course
  2. Oil and petroleum centric upper level courses.

If State isn't getting enough undergrads to fill that major's salaries, it probably could afford to be cut. Not knowing their enrollment figures, or the background of geological science enrollment figures nationwide (which I would imagine is low, but am unsure), I'd reserve judgment.

But I was more specifically talking about Jazz Voice, and specific majors one specific medical disorders. That seems like it should be a graduate level specialty, not an undergraduate specialty, and therefore it should be lumped on an undergraduate level to either psychology, pre-med, etc.

As far as physics departments go, I've visited a couple schools where it's lumped under a math/science umbrella. I thought it was kind of weird, especially given the school was a smaller D1 school (so it's of reasonable size for a public institution). Then again, their major target demographic wasn't so much science as it was education majors.

West Texas Blue

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:27 AM ^

That's why Michigan is the leaders and the best. We continue to thrive even with this recession while others get left behind in the dust. And yes, I believe UM should go private. Get the endowment up to $8 billion, and the school could cut ties with the state. Funding from the state is just going to continue to dwindle ever year, so might as well accept the inevitable conclusion and move on forward by becoming private.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:32 AM ^

I understand why you are saying they should become private but right now all their buildings and property are considered State property and so they do not have to pay property tax on any of it. If UofM were to become private wouldn't they have to begin to pay property tax? Not to mention they would have to follow all of Ann Arbor's ordinances - Such as the noise ordinance they ignored on the stadium construction. I could be wrong on this but thought I would throw it out there.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:44 AM ^

Private universities are still "non-profit organizations" and as such do not have to pay taxes.

I don't know about the Ann Arbor's ordinances. If they privatized and the property no longer became government land then presumably Ann Arbor laws would take precedence. This is actually a positive since if I remember correctly the punishment for being caught with weed was much much harsher on campus than off campus.

Isaac Newton

March 2nd, 2010 at 11:06 AM ^

It's not where you're caught with weed that determines the punishment, but who writes the ticket (assuming you're not carrying large amounts). If a city cop writes the ticket, you're assessed the city fee of $25; if a University cop, and thus a state employee, you get the state fee.


March 2nd, 2010 at 1:41 PM ^

If you liked the stadium renovations happening in three years, be glad we don't have to abide by Ann Arbor law which would have restricted the hours in which construction is allowed.

Ann Arbor is a great city, I think it does a great service to the University and we to it, but I really wouldn't want to grant the city council any control over the university; they're generally overly protective which has delayed/stopped a lot of development, even downtown. If they had zoning control over the university, building new buildings would be extremely difficult. I would think that we would need some kind of exemption--whether the University was officially not part of Ann Arbor, or explicitly had state permission to oversee its own affairs.


March 3rd, 2010 at 7:58 AM ^

That's currently the case, but I doubt that it would remain state land if we became a private university. The question is whether the university would remain separate from the city or whether the land would become part of Ann Arbor (and, even if we were separate at the split, when the university bought land in the future, would that land 'leave' the city or would future expansions be under the city's jurisdiction).

Blue 8198

March 2nd, 2010 at 11:39 AM ^

As noted above, a significant, and likely insurmountable, expense of going private would have to do with the real property and other hard assets of the university. Since the state owns the property, the new private institution would have to either purchase or lease it from the state.

The law school receives a verrrrry small amount from the state and there has at times been talk of spinning it off as a private institution but the cost of the real estate, among other infrastructure provided by the university, makes it cost prohibitive.

West Texas Blue

March 2nd, 2010 at 10:45 AM ^


State funding steadily declining from 78% in the 1960 to 22% this year is hardly what I would call ebb and flow. Michigan's economy has steadily declined with the brain drain to other states, movement of people to the South, and the decline of the Big 3. Unless some major new industries and companies startup in Michigan, I don't see the state ever getting back to its heydays.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:35 AM ^

I remember the public/ private debate popping up a few years ago, but not the benefits of going private. M still gets 22% of its budget from the state, so why walk away from that money. I realize they could charge whatever they want then, but this would prevent many kids from attending.


March 2nd, 2010 at 1:18 PM ^

I wouldn't be so sure about that. Academically speaking, Engineering at Michigan, Georgia Tech, and Stanford is basically the same. A lot of in-staters choose Michigan because it offers the same quality of education as an Ivy for much less a year. If the tuition was identical, I think you'll find a lot more in staters either going out of state or to MSU.


March 2nd, 2010 at 11:52 AM ^

Actually that is just for funding the general fund. In terms of overall funding, state appropriations is closer 6%. I am the current biophysics graduate student rep and sit on some of the budget meetings for my department. Michigan is actually not doing as well as it is depicted in the article. Several departments at Michigan will be cutting graduate student instructor appointments for Fall 2010, including several scientific research based departments, which tend to be better funded.

Feat of Clay

March 3rd, 2010 at 12:47 PM ^

Yes, it's a leaner-than-usual time at Michigan, but the article is essentially correct in its assertion that U-M is quite a bit better off than other universities.

I also am pretty familiar with the U-M budget, and I know U-M is making cuts and has been making them for some time. But it's nowhere near what it happening at other places.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:43 AM ^

but "begging the question" is not the same as "raising a question." Begging questions is a logical fallacy in which the conclusion is assumed in the premise.

Okay now neg me and go on with your life.


March 2nd, 2010 at 10:51 AM ^

Can anyone think of a time when a school went from public to private? I don't think making UofM private is a good idea. It could turn out very bad for the university.


March 2nd, 2010 at 12:25 PM ^

He's a 5th year senior, his name is Brian Bennett. I'm a bit of a Tulane fan myself. I went to every home game and bowl game the year they went undefeated. I was also at the Tulane-Rice Super regional game when they clinched a spot in the CWS in 2005 was it? My dad wanted me to go to Tulane but I wanted to be an engineer so I chose UofM.


March 2nd, 2010 at 12:43 PM ^

Not familiar with the name, then again most of my circle consistented of b-school, with a smattering of liberal, communications, and pre-law/med.

Wise choice on choosing Michigan for engineering, you may have found it difficult to study that post Katrina. I hope one day Tulane will be able to bring it back, preferably within the next decade.

Also, I have to admit that I am a bit jealous that you were able to attend those events. I am praying that one day, the self-proclaimed, giant sports fan Scott Cowan (Tulane President) realizes the economic and social benefits of having a strong athletics program. While I enjoy the success that Baseball, Volleyball and two post Katrina programs in WGolf and WTennis have achieved they simply do not enhance the Universities image or coffers significantly.

Dr Sardonicus

March 2nd, 2010 at 11:09 AM ^

I hope folks realize that most of the buildings on campus were built through the state's capital outlay process. If U-M wants to go private, the state isn't going to just give them the buildings as a going away present--at least not without expecting the taxpayers of the state to be reimbursed for the tax money that went to build those buildings.