CMU trustees approve $462 million budget

Scholarships, financial aid increase nearly $7 million; state appropriations up, but still fall $52 million short of historic levels
CMU Board of Trustees

The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a $462 million operating budget for fiscal year 2015, which begins July 1.

The plan includes $79 million in state appropriations and reflects a projected freshman class this fall of 3,500 students. It also carries a nearly 21 percent increase in scholarships and financial aid.

“It’s because of accessibility that today’s budget cements an almost $7 million increase in financial aid,” President George E. Ross said. “This is 100 percent about students, about families and about doing everything we can to help students graduate, in a timely fashion, with debt that is contained as much as possible.”

Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services, noted that if state appropriations had kept pace with inflation, the $79 million approved by lawmakers for the upcoming fiscal year would equal nearly $131 million.

“That’s a difference of almost $52 million between how the state supported CMU students in 2001 versus how it supports students today,” Wilkes said. “Had state support kept pace with historic levels, we would be able to roll back tuition to $286 a credit hour. That’s a savings to students of $300 for a typical, three-credit class.”

Further highlights of the budget include:

  • An additional $346,000 for safety compliance in the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs;
  • $691,000 to cover the minimum wage increase; and
  • $1.8 million that will be cut from service center budgets to fund strategic priorities throughout the coming year.

Wilkes noted that CMU has achieved energy and sustainability savings of $3 million annually, $14 million in avoided costs during the past six years through its self-funded health care plan and healthy lifestyles of employees, and $3 million to $5 million in annual savings from competitive bidding and purchasing cooperatives with other universities.

Other items approved by trustees include:

  • A $5.7 million deferred maintenance budget for campus upkeep and repair.
  • Changes to the Code of Student Rights, Responsibilities and Disciplinary Procedures regarding academic dishonesty, arson and sexual assault. Steven Johnson, vice president of enrollment and student services, said the changes to the sexual assault provisions are the result of federal regulatory changes under Title IX to enhance safety and stem sexual assaults on campuses across the country.
  • An easement to the city of Mount Pleasant for construction of a road connecting East Campus Drive with Mission Street between Chippewa Lanes and Special Olympics Michigan.
  • A name change for the chemistry department to the department of chemistry and biochemistry.
  • The creation of a department of entrepreneurship in the College of Business Administration.

President Ross addressed a number of items in his report to trustees including the operating budget, progress on the $95 million Biosciences Building and CMU’s new office in downtown Detroit.