News Story

University Spending, Not a Lack of Taxpayer Support, Drives Higher Tuition

History suggests the schools pocket the additional taxpayer contributions and still raise tuition

To push lawmakers to spend even more on Michigan’s 15 public universities, the Michigan Association of State Universities is promoting a poll which finds an overwhelming majority of residents agree to spend more – if that keeps tuition down. “Michigan Residents Say State Should Boost Higher Education Funding to Keep Tuition Low, Poll Shows.”

ForTheRecord says: Spending by Michigan’s 15 state universities in the 2016-17 school year increased 6.4 percent over the previous year, well above the rate of inflation. That’s about $400 million in additional spending, with fewer students to educate. And the students who did attend had to pay $200 million of that increase through higher tuition and fees.

That year continues the trend of university spending going up faster than the inflation rate over the past decade. And legislators have been increasing the amount that taxpayers contribute to spending by public universities.

With low inflation and a flat student population, the driver of higher tuition is the failure of universities to control their costs.