FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 26, 2003
CONTACT: Ward Mullens
ward.mullens@emich.edu
734.487.4400

EDITOR’S NOTE: A complete text of President Kirkpatrick's remarks can be found at www.emich.edu/president/

Kirkpatrick Tells Legislators, 'Investment in Higher Education Pays Off;'
Says Proposed Budget Cuts Will Have 'Significant Impact' on University

YPSILANTI - Eastern Michigan University President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick told legislators today that the state's investment in higher education in general, and EMU in particular, had a positive, measurable impact.

Citing a recent study by the University Investment Commission, a broad-based independent task force of state business leaders, that found that for every dollar the state invests in higher education, universities return $26, Kirkpatrick said that for institutions like Eastern Michigan University, the return on investment is even higher. A separate economic impact study showed, "EMU's total impact on the Michigan economy of $2.8 billion for the 2002 fiscal year reflects a return of $30 for each dollar received from the state," he said.

Speaking before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations, Kirkpatrick said that public universities are the key to change in Michigan and to its new economy. "Despite the challenging economic times," he said, "EMU's social, cultural and economic impact presents a compelling case for state policy-makers to continue their investment."

Kirkpatrick told legislators that the proposed 10 percent cut to higher education appropriations would have serious consequences. "In addition to the proposed $8.7 million reduction to EMU in state appropriations, the University faces nearly $10 million in unavoidable cost increases for previously negotiated labor contracts, health care, financial aid and unfunded state mandates. One unfunded mandate, a required payment to the Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System, has increased more than 100 percent since 1998."
“Anyway you look at it." he said, "we are facing a $19 million problem."

Despite the historical low funding of EMU, the university has provided sound fiscal management and has never had a year-end deficit. "We are among the lowest universities in cost per student and in tuition," Kirkpatrick told the legislators. "However, the Executive Budget recommendation would reduce EMU's per student appropriation to $4,028. That's $40 less than we received in 1996 and $1,187 less than the adjusted state average."

Kirkpatrick said that the University will address the proposed budget reductions through a number of strategies including: controlling expenditures and generating new revenues; seeking contract revisions and efficiencies from labor unions; consolidating services; restricting travel and overtime; freezing vacant positions; and eliminating programs and positions.

"Our first priority will be to protect the quality of our academic product," he said. "But there is no avoiding the fact that class sizes will increase, services will be diminished and there will be fewer employees doing more work."

Kirkpatrick said that EMU's commitment to accessibility and affordability may be stretched, but will not be broken, during these challenging budget times. "More than half of our students, nearly 52 percent, receive more than $100 million in financial aid of some type. Since 2001, our financial aid budget has increased 68 percent. Nationally, the average increase is only 11.5 percent. As currently projected, 16 percent of our tuition and fees for Fiscal '04 will go directly back to students through campus-based financial aid."

"It's important for the State to keep the doors to a college education open to all its citizens," Kirkpatrick said. "Over the years, the state has subsidized students in higher education by as much as 75 percent. That is likely to shrink to 40 percent next year. This puts a heavy burden on our most neediest students, many of whom attend EMU."

 

SUMMARY POINTS
Eastern Michigan University President Samuel A. Kirkpatrick’s
testimony before the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations
March 26, 2003

Profile
- Eastern Michigan University is a comprehensive metropolitan university serving urban and suburban students through programs in the arts, sciences and professions in traditional classrooms, off campus centers and online.
- EMU’s five colleges (Arts and Sciences, Business, Education, Health and Human Services and Technology) offer more than 400 undergraduate majors, minors and concentrations, and 85 graduate degree and certificate programs.
- EMU, with more than 24,600 students, is the sixth largest public university in Michigan.
- EMU has an undergraduate student minority population of 23 percent.
- The University has been recognized several times by U.S. News and World Report for having one of the most diverse student populations in the Midwest.
- More than 90 percent of EMU students come from Michigan, but they also represent more than 45 other states and 100 foreign countries.
- More than 50 percent of EMU’s 4,000 graduates each year have transferred from other schools.
- EMU serves more than 12,000 corporate learners annually.
- More than 80 percent of EMU graduates remain in Michigan to live, work and pay taxes.
- EMU has a “teaching” faculty, with a majority of faculty having an average teaching load of four classes per semester plus advising, service and research responsibilities.
- EMU is a metropolitan university. Faculty teach courses tailored to the diverse needs of metropolitan students, combine research-based knowledge and practical application and experience, and educate students to be effective citizens.
- EMU conducts research and public service activities through 13 institutes and centers.
Economic and social impact
- EMU contributes significantly to the economic and social well-being of Ypsilanti, Washtenaw County and the State of Michigan.
- During 2001-02, EMU was responsible for:
• nearly $3 million in community improvement activities
• more than 25,000 hours of student volunteer community service
• entertaining more than 64,000 people at campus musical and theatrical events
- EMU’s total impact on the Michigan economy of $2.8 billion for the 2002 fiscal year reflects a return of $30 for each dollar received from the state.
- EMU’s total impact on the Michigan economy generates $1.25 in state government tax revenue for each dollar received from the state.

Student access and support
- EMU has always believed in accessibility and affordability.
- Since 2001, EMU has increased its student financial aid budget 68 percent. (National average increase is 11.5 percent)
- For fiscal year 03-04, 16 percent of EMU’s tuition and fees will go directly back to students through campus-based financial aid. If one includes student employment dollars, this figure rises to 18 percent.
- More than half, some 52 percent, of EMU students receive more than $100 million in financial aid of some type.
- The gap between demonstrated need and financial assistance available for high-need freshman is $2,500. This requires students to work significant hours to meet this need. A factor which adversely affects their persistence to a degree.
- More than 85 percent of EMU’s students work and 25 percent have two jobs.
- EMU’s endowment provides only $700,000 annually to student scholarships. This is less than one percent of the total financial aid awarded.
Budget reduction issues
- EMU met the 3.5 percent current year appropriation cut through several strategies including:
• using carryover funds planned for this purpose
• not filling administrative staff vacancies
• reducing operations and travel
• saving on energy
• enhancing revenue, and
• maintaining aggressive enrollment growth and retention programs.
- In addition to the Governor’s recommended $8.7 million cut in state appropriations, EMU faces almost $10 million in unavoidable cost increases for previously negotiated employee contracts and state mandates. This translates into nearly a $19 million problem for FY04.
- EMU’s faces a $4.6 million unfunded mandate from the state for the Michigan Public Schools Employee Retirement System. Only seven of the 15 state universities have such an obligation. The cost of this unfunded mandate has increased more than 100 percent since 1998.
- EMU is a fiscally-prudent university and has never had a year-end deficit.
- EMU’s cost per student and tuition is among the lowest in the state.
- The Executive Budget recommendation would reduce EMU’s per student appropriation to $4,028 – $40 less than the we received in 1996, and $1,187 less than the adjusted state average.
- The University is currently engaged in a robust set of budget contingency planning activities that link resources to results. Strategies include:
• controlling expenses • generating new revenue
• seeking contract revisions from labor unions • freezing vacant positions
• eliminating programs and positions • consolidating services
• increasing class size and section offerings • restricting travel and overtime

 

 



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