News Story

State Funding For Michigan’s Universities Fell — But Tuition Rose Much More

Adjusting for inflation, tuition up $2.886 billion since 2000, state appropriations down $1.24 billion

One casualty of Michigan’s “single-state recession” of the 2000s and the nation’s Great Recession of 2008 and 2009 was the level of taxpayer support for Michigan's 15 state universities. But annual tuition collected by the schools has risen by a far greater amount than the decline in state support.

In 1999-00, Michigan’s 15 state universities received the equivalent of $2.082 billion in state tax dollars. In contrast, in 2018-19, appropriations for the 15 schools totaled $1.546 billion.

On the tuition side, in 1999-00, the 15 state universities took in the equivalent of $2.082 billion current dollars from students as tuition; by 2018-19 this had risen to $4.968 billion. It adds up to a $2.886 billion increase in tuition payments, compared to a $1.24 billion reduction in state funding after adjusting for inflation.

The net increase in university revenue can be seen in the amount that total spending has increased at the 15 institutions. For example, the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus spent the equivalent of $1.403 billion current dollars in 1999-00. This had risen to $2.061 billion by 2017-18, a $650 million real increase over 17 years earlier when adjusted for inflation.