Letter from VP Kathy Wilbur

Welcome to the Government Relations Web site for Central Michigan University. Here, you can learn about important state budget and legislative issues facing CMU and how you can help advocate for CMU.

Budget update

Near the end of 2008, the Executive Office issued Executive Order cuts to address the fiscal deficit of 2008. Fortunately higher education, which is funded through the state general fund, was not included in that order for the budget taking effect Oct. 1, 2008. However, following the Revenue Estimating Conference in mid-January, it was determined that the state faces a budget deficit of more than $1 billion.

For fiscal year 2009–2010, the governor recommended a 3% across-the-board cut for higher education. The recommended cut for CMU was 3.2%, or $2.7 million from our current year budget. The federal stimulus package stipulates that the funds must be used to make up for any cuts in higher education budgets in 2007–08 and to prevent any cuts this year. In addition, there is supposedly some money for some capital projects, but we do not have more detail on that at this time.

The governor also asked the 15 public four-year institutions to freeze tuition for the next academic year. It becomes increasingly challenging to consider a freeze in tuition as the state portion of public university funding continues to decrease; today, 22% of CMU’s general fund revenue comes from state appropriations as opposed to 60% just 20 years ago.

Even if funding is maintained at the current-year level, a tuition freeze does not account for annual operating budget increases from rising utility costs, rising healthcare costs and rising personnel costs.

It is important to remember that it is early in the state budgetary process. The Michigan House of Representatives has begun hearings on the budget proposal, and CMU testified in front of the House Subcommittee on Higher Education Appropriations on Friday, Feb. 27 at Eastern Michigan University. Once the House concludes its deliberations, the Senate will begin hearings in mid-April. We are hopeful that a budget will be placed before the governor for signature by mid-July.

The Government Relations Web site will be updated as more information becomes available about these recommendations as well as the amount of financial support coming from the federal stimulus package. The Executive Office hopes that it is a significant enough amount that more Executive Order cuts might be prevented. This is an area on which we focus a great deal of attention in Lansing.

It would be helpful at this time for the governor and elected officials in the House and Senate to receive letters from concerned citizens about protecting higher education funding from future cuts. Please write or e-mail our state’s elected officials and express your support for CMU and for unified, equitably funded public higher education in Michigan. Your communication with the state’s leaders will help influence decisions and preserve the quality of our state’s public higher education. The sample letter on this Web site provides information that will be useful in your correspondence.

From everyone in the Office of Government Relations, thank you for your interest and involvement in the life of Central Michigan University.

Sincerely,

Kathy Wilbur
Vice President for Governmental Relations & Public Affairs​​