News Bite

MSU has won more in last 15 years, but Michigan is the victor in getting taxpayer dollars

The teams will compete Saturday in Ann Arbor for the Paul Bunyan Trophy

Michigan State University has beaten the University of Michigan in 10 of the last 15 football games. Yet U-M is the winner when it comes to state funding.

According to James Hohman, director of fiscal policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, politics play a role determining how much in taxpayer dollars each university receives.

“Lawmakers fund universities not by how many resident students they enroll, nor whether they keep costs down, nor for graduating students on time,” Hohman told CapCon. “They fund universities based on what the institutions got from taxpayers in previous years, and what they got in previous years is based on nothing but politics. Lawmakers ought to use the public purse to encourage better outcomes from the schools.”

The two biggest pots of money go to MSU and U-M. MSU received $7,735 for each full-time student in the 2022-23 fiscal year state budget. It had 39,265 full-time students during the 2020-21 academic year. The average list price for tuition at MSU is $16,058.

The Ann Arbor campus of U-M had 25,616 full-time undergraduate students during the 2020-21 school year, and it will receive $13,242 for each student from the state’s 2022-23 budget. Tuition is $17,193 annually.

Central Michigan University had 15,399 full-time students the same year and only received $5,919 per student. Its students will pay on average $13,538 this year. Grand Valley State University has 19,251 students, 25% more students than CMU, yet received $4,221 per student the same academic year, 28.7% less than CMU. Tuition this year is $13,900.

The number of students refers to students who are state residents. Tuition refers to the average list price, with upper-level students and students in some programs being charged more.

Michigan Capitol Confidential is the news source produced by the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Michigan Capitol Confidential reports with a free-market news perspective.