Regental approval of UM-Dearborn budget
July 21, 2006
Earlier this morning, the U-M Regents approved the campus budget for the upcoming year, a budget that supports the main objectives of our campus despite the tough economic climate across the state of Michigan. This budget clearly supports the primary commitments of the campus: our emphasis on enhancing the quality of our educational programs; our promise to provide access to our programs for high-achieving students in our region; and our duty to compensate our faculty and staff for their stalwart commitment to the institution and its values.
One of the most important items in the budget from my perspective is our commitment to increase salaries paid across campus by 3 percent, with individual raises to be determined by the merit review process currently under way. As you know, this increase is higher than we have been able to achieve in the past several years, and higher than we had hoped to be able to achieve in this budget. In addition to this increase, over the past year we have looked for innovative ways to recognize the contributions of faculty and staff, including the dependentsí tuition scholarship program announced this spring. The new budget also includes $200,000, the first half of a two-year plan to move $400,000 into the base budget, to address issues of salary compression and inversion among faculty members.
As everyone knows, reductions in our state appropriation over the past few years have had a serious impact on our campus. Last week, the state legislature passed a budget that includes a 2.9 percent increase for our campus, which will help partially offset the declines in state support earlier this decade. Even with that increase, though, we will still be more than $2.5 million below our state support in 2001-2002, and more than $6 million down taking inflation into account. So while we welcome the projected increase in this yearís state appropriation, we have to remember that it only goes partway toward helping us dig our way out from the shortfalls over the past five years.
As a result of the lingering effects of that decline, and in order to maintain our quality standards, we have decided that our tuition rate needs to go up by 8 percent this year. At the same time, we will increase institutional financial aid by 12.9 percent, signaling our commitment to increasing the number of students able to take advantage of the campusís programs.
In addition, utility costs are projected to increase by nearly 15 percent over the next year, representing another serious challenge to our ability to manage our budget. Next yearís budget also includes increased spending for new faculty lines in areas with growing demand.
As an institution, we have three leading priorities: to maintain the high quality of our academic programs, to make these programs available to the most able and ambitious students in the metropolitan region, and to preserve a working environment for our faculty and staff that maintains the highest level of commitment and achievement for our students. We are confident that this yearís budget will help us meet those goals.