NMU Budget Forum

As the state budget process unfolds, Michigan’s Public 15 universities are bracing for yet another summer of budget cuts.

Northern Michigan University got an update from its president this afternoon on where things stand.

Dr. Les Wong says it can expect a 15% cut in state aid from Lansing.

That means students can expect some type of tuition increase to come out of the Board of Trustees’ July meeting.

Projected job cuts to faculty and staff are also on the table.

The faculty cuts would be split between vacant and term positions.

He wants the campus to experiment with working four 10–hour days per week this summer.

Dr. Wong says he’d like to see the idea tried both this summer and next summer and then, if it helps save money, possibly implement it in the fall of 2012.

Earlier this year, Governor Rick Snyder promised to show the state a 2–year budget, but he hasn’t shown proposals for 2013 yet.

State formula funding for higher ed may be in store by then, and that concept punishes rural schools.

Dr. Wong says one of the things at which NMU excels is helping students from a wide range of different backgrounds get their degrees while balancing other life commitments.

He says students that need more time than others because of situations like that aren’t any lesser intellectually than anyone else — the issue is that not everyone starts off the higher education process in the same place.

The formulas are based on students graduating with a 4–year degree within 6 years.

Many possible changes are still up in the air and are based on collective bargaining with employee unions.