July 13, 2023: Michigan State University budget update

Dear Spartans,

We are pleased to share with you an update on the university’s fiscal year 2023-24 operating budget, which was approved by the Board of Trustees during its June board meeting.

Our budget is not just numbers on paper but an expression of our university’s values and aspirations. To that end, the FY 2023-24 budget builds on last year’s inaugural all-funds budget and prioritizes the resources needed to support MSU’s mission and 2030 strategic plan, balanced with fiscal discipline. The approved budget includes all operating funds for FY 2023-24 and totals $3.3 billion. It significantly invests in staff and faculty compensation, financial aid and student success, and our community’s health, well-being and safety.

Staff and faculty success

The legacies we cherish, our daily continuing mission and our goals illuminating the path ahead rely on the talent and dedication of every MSU employee. That is why the strategic plan recognizes you as the heart of our university — and why we fulfilled our State of the University commitment to make compensation the highest priority in this budget.

Seventy-one percent of the incremental general fund revenues allocated in this budget go to salary, wage and benefit increases. For non-union faculty and academic staff, that translates into salary increases of 4% for a general merit pool and a 1% excellence and equity pool. For collective bargaining agreements and support staff, raises will be increased to 4% in situations in which the current agreements are less than 4%. These base salary increases will be available during the fall raise process and will become effective on Oct. 1, 2023. Salary increases for graduate students were also incorporated into the budget and will become effective Aug. 16, 2023. Human Resources and Faculty and Academic Staff Affairs will share additional specific information this month.

These raises build on many other efforts to support the needs, aspirations and well-being of employees and foster an inclusive environment in which all of us can thrive. Within the last fiscal year, for example, the university has expanded paid time off and increased equity across our workforce by:

  • Adding two new personal observance days
  • Formalizing a university winter break (three days per calendar year)
  • Designating Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a university holiday for all employees
  • Making every benefit-eligible employee and new hire immediately eligible to enroll in the 403(b) Base retirement plan with voluntary participation, including fixed-term specialists and research associates

We are grateful for the collaboration among university executives, academic governance leadership, union leaders and trustees toward enabling this vital institutional commitment to the people who ensure MSU students and our community are supported and that the institution continues to operate at a high level.

Student success

Even in challenging times, MSU has prioritized support for students and broad access to our world-class educational experience. That is why the budget invests $224 million in financial aid, an increase of $16.4 million and the largest sum of financial aid in university history. For most lower-income students and families, this additional aid offsets next academic year’s 3% increase in undergraduate tuition, which was approved by the board in June 2021 as a part of a three-year budget approval. Our investment builds upon the support previously announced by the Michigan Legislature. With an estimated $20 million allocated — more than any other public university in the state — MSU will distribute these funds to high-achieving Michigan students through the Michigan Achievement Scholarship Program starting in the upcoming 2023-24 academic year.

We are proud to have made unprecedented investments in financial aid, increasing general fund financial aid by approximately 105% over 10 years, or five times the resident undergraduate tuition rate increase during that time. These efforts, as well as other student success initiatives to strengthen advising, establish a one-stop shop streamlining student services and foster belonging and support persistence, among other efforts, have positioned us well to reach our goal of an 86% six-year graduation rate by 2030. Affordability and access are enabled in this budget, and, together, we look forward to welcoming students back to campus and to their pursuits of learning and expanding horizons.

Campus wellness and safety

As outlined in the 2030 strategic plan, the university is committed to meeting the health and wellness needs of our students and employees. During the previous fiscal year, for example, MSU recruited an assistant provost and executive director for the new University Health and Wellbeing division, bringing together 11 departments focused on this area. Its funding has been supported through one-time funds that, in part, will continue into FY 2024. This budget includes $3 million intended to provide more stable funding to support the division’s critically important work, including addressing mental health needs.

The budget also includes funding for new investments in campus safety initiatives, such as the establishment of a central operations center. Other campus safety initiatives have been developed with extensive input from the campus community. We have continued to strengthen our campus alert systems to include outdoor emergency weather sirens and our campus Green Light emergency phones. Facilities crews are installing hundreds of new classroom door locks that can be secured from the inside while still allowing emergency personnel to enter using a key. Meanwhile, our independent third-party after-action review is underway as we work to open a campus security operations center, integrate security systems and develop procedures for real-time monitoring. These efforts and more are vital to ensuring a safer environment for our community as we also strive to maintain a welcoming campus.

Finally, the budget advances our work fostering a trauma-informed culture of support. Informed by data from the 2019 and 2022 Know More campus surveys, and as called for in our Relationship Violence and Sexual Misconduct Strategic Plan, the university has made important progress in expanding trauma-informed services; strengthening processes for RVSM policy violation, sanction and discipline; assessing resources and support for respondents; strengthening RVSM prevention programming; improving most measures of climate and culture; and promoting overall accountability. Now we have a new vice president for the Office for Civil Rights and Title IX Education and Compliance, Laura Rugless, in an elevated position to provide additional focus for this critical area. This year’s budget will help us sustain our forward momentum, provide funding to accomplish the recommendations of an outside firm and further strengthen the Office for Civil Rights.

Looking forward

Our budget and strategic plan reflect MSU’s lofty aspirations, allocating current funds to their highest purposes on the one hand and leveraging our assets and intentions into something far greater on the other. We applaud all Spartans — from students, faculty and staff to alums, retirees, donors and partners — for their collective efforts to advance our mission and strategic priorities. And we look forward to our continued collaboration fostering an environment in which all of us can grow, thrive and rise together.


Teresa K. Woodruff, Ph.D. (she/her)
Interim President
MSU Research Foundation Professor

Lisa A. Frace (she/her)
Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer