President George E. Ross testified Thursday afternoon before the Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee in Lansing, talking about Central Michigan University's economic impact, scholarship funding, student academic experiences, and efforts to maintain a safe campus.
Ross praised the Legislature and Gov. Rick Snyder for seven years of reinvestment in higher education yet noted the state lags much of the nation.
Michigan ranked 20th in per capita state fiscal support of higher education in 2001, compared with 43rd today. In 2001, average state support was nearly $10,000 per student. Today, it falls shy of $5,400.
"We at Central Michigan University believe strongly that if our Great Lakes state wants a shot at the next Amazon second headquarters-type project, we must propel our economy forward by investing in students and families pursuing degrees," Ross said.
"CMU students find academic excellence, personalized learning, leadership opportunities, hands-on experiences, a strong sense of community, and an extraordinary network of support."
Highlights of Ross' testimony include:
- CMU had a $1.2 billion economic impact statewide in fiscal year 2016. A study by the Anderson Economic Group also shows that CMU accounted for the creation of nearly 12,000 Michigan jobs.
- CMU has increased financial aid and scholarship funding by 87 percent over the past eight years. Students receive more than $61 million in university-funded scholarships and more than $300 million in private, state and federal awards and grants each year.
- CMU's inaugural class of medical students graduated last May, and all 62 physicians were placed in residencies. Nearly half of these residencies are in Michigan, upholding CMU's mission of providing medical care in rural and medically underserved urban communities.
- Nearly 90 percent of CMU's on-campus students are Michigan natives and represent every county in Michigan. Most choose to stay in the state after graduation, contributing to Michigan's economic rebirth.
- CMU is a leader in procedures, policies and services regarding sexual misconduct and maintaining a safe environment for all students, faculty, staff and community members. Ross cited CMU's 40-year history on the forefront of Title IX; online training for faculty, staff and students; cross-campus collaboration to educate and support students and to address issues; and resources such as the nationally renowned "No Zebras, No Excuses" program and CMU's Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates.
"We are redoubling our efforts to be responsible, accountable and ultimately aware of what's happening around us. We are committed to equal educational and employment opportunities and to the elimination of all forms of prohibited discrimination, harassment and sexual misconduct," Ross said.