Higher education spared from state budget cuts

12-10-2008

I am encouraged by the fact that Governor Granholm’s announcement regarding budget reductions recognizes the importance of sparing higher education from the cuts. We, too, believe that education and innovation are keys to leading Michigan out of these most challenging times and that investment in our future must not be delayed or forfeited.

We are grateful to the Governor and members of the state Legislature for their commitment to education. However, the relief we feel about this is tempered by the reality that Michigan families are affected by any cuts, and we as a state and as a university must do all we can to mitigate the impact on our fellow citizens.

As we look to additional ways to address the needs of those suffering most during these historically difficult economic times, we also must commit ourselves to assuring that an investment in education is the very best down payment on the future this state can make. At MSU, we remain committed to containing costs as we assure quality; to meeting the financial needs as well as the educational needs of our students.

The university has worked tirelessly over time to contain costs, improve operational efficiencies, and provide financial aid for students in need, all while maintaining world-class quality. We have increased need-based financial aid with university funds and just a couple weeks ago established the Adverse Economic Circumstances Fund to help students whose families have suffered serious financial setbacks due to loss of income.

Though the university’s conservative approach to financial stewardship has positioned us well to weather the current storm, the 2009 and 2010 fiscal years remain of great concern as we do not know how much longer the recession will last. As we have done over the past number of years, we will continue to reduce our costs while still enhancing our value proposition to Michigan families.

Universities are the engines of innovation and drivers of prosperity; at MSU we take this responsibility very seriously. We are committed to continuing our partnerships with individuals, organizations, and agencies throughout the state in efforts to develop strategies that will move Michigan forward and create the knowledge economy industries and jobs essential for our future success.

There is no doubt that Michigan confronts a dramatic crisis. I am more convinced than ever that the problem-solving, innovation, and opportunity creation of a world-class research university like MSU can help lead our state from crisis to hope, from today’s difficulties to tomorrow’s dreams. The importance of a college education at a world-recognized university has never been greater than it is right now.

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