Faced with the worst economic outlook in twenty years, the state of Michigan is scouring the budget to locate expenses to slash. One of the inevitable casualties of this process will be the state’s higher education system. Last week, representatives of the Michigan Student Assembly spoke to University Provost Paul Courant concerning the imminent budget cuts that face the new Granholm administration. Most experts are predicting that Gov. Jennifer Granholm will have to cut nearly $2 billion in expenditures in order to balance the budget over the coming years. These cuts, made in response to the murky fiscal prospects emanating from all corners of the state, are sure to adversely affect thousands of students in terms of significant tuition hikes.
Fundamentally, this is a situation that has no easy answer. The state has to make the cuts, which will ultimately defer a number of Granholm’s campaign promises. The University must respond accordingly, and cannot afford to keep tuition rates stable in the wake of former Gov. John Engler’s administration, which cut $53.1 million in higher education funding last year. And in the end, the student body, for richer or poorer, will swallow an increase in tuition estimated to be anywhere from 5 to 10 percent.
It is important to remember, however, that the University must do all it can to keep the expense of tuition reasonable for students of all backgrounds. It would be unfortunate if the University administration saddled the student body with more than its fair share of these budget cuts. In this regard, a student presence in budgetary matters is crucial, and MSA should be the first to step up to this task. In speaking with Courant, MSA members have done exactly that. More important than either the expansion of Entr