Michigan, 2000 and 2004 in Current U.S. Dollars

Institution

Revenues per FTE[*] 2000

Revenues per FTE 2004

University of Michigan-Ann Arbor

$91,500

$119,216

Michigan State University

29,767

36,069

Wayne State University

29,669

29,977

Michigan Technological University

26,025

27,354

Lake Superior State University

14,741

20,726

University of Michigan-Dearborn

13,596

20,680

Western Michigan University

15,291

20,027

Ferris State University

18,710

18,256

Northern Michigan University

15,105

17,189

University of Michigan-Flint

13,238

15,383

Eastern Michigan University

13,029

15,093

Central Michigan University

11,813

14,179

Oakland University

12,627

13,884

Grand Valley State University

12,555

13,717

Saginaw Valley State University

10,689

12,786

Michigan Average

$21,890

$26,303

Source: U.S. Department of Education, Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS), http://nces.ed.gov/ipedspas accessed March 2007.

In addition to revenues, spending per FTE student tended to rise at the 15 institutions (see Table 2), although by a lesser amount on average. That in itself is striking, since it suggests that, on average, the various institutions were accumulating cash surpluses during this period of budget stringency. To be sure, universities run many operations, including hospitals, dining halls, dormitories, athletic programs and the like on a commercial basis, and perhaps the cash accumulations were in these funds. Nonetheless, rising cash balances are inconsistent with cries of poverty and budgetary deprivation.

Table 2 shows that spending exceeded the inflation rate at the U of M — Ann Arbor, Western Michigan and Eastern Michigan, and stayed approximately constant at Michigan State. Spending did fall in inflation adjusted terms at other institutions, most notably Ferris State. On average, spending per student fell less than 1 percent statewide in an inflation-adjusted sense, and since economists generally believe the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers modestly overstates inflation, it is probably fair to say average real per student expenditures remained constant — neither falling nor rising much during this period. It may be that universities chose to increase their emphasis on research, thereby lowering instructional spending per student; but if so, that is a result of a university decision to reallocate resources, not a paucity of available funds.


[*] FTE is shorthand for Full-Time Equivalent.