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Trustees approve $483 million budget

Spending plan includes an additional $6.1 million in financial aid

Contact: Heather Smith

​The Central Michigan University Board of Trustees approved a $483 million operating budget for 2015-2016 at today’s meeting.

The budget is based on state appropriations of nearly $81 million and a freshman class of 3,500 students. State funding accounts for 17 percent of the university’s revenue, while tuition contributes 56 percent.

“State allocations have been partially restored, although they’re still millions of dollars less than they were earlier this decade,” CMU President George E. Ross said. “In fiscal year 2003, state appropriations represented 31 percent of our budget. Today, they fund 17 percent of it, which equates to 62 days of operating revenues.”

Had state appropriations kept pace with that historic level, students would be paying $100 less per credit hour in tuition.

To offset that cost, trustees again this year included millions of dollars in additional financial aid to improve access and affordability for students.

“We continue to make a significant investment in students,” Ross said. “We’ve once again added an extra $6 million in scholarships, helping determined students offset the cost of their education. Our base budget for scholarships has increased 67 percent since I became president in 2010.”

CMU supports students with more than $61 million in university funding annually and distributes more than $300 million each year in private and federal financial awards and grants.

Barrie Wilkes, vice president of finance and administrative services, says cost containment measures play an important role in the university’s budget, saving CMU at least $28 million annually.

“Employees are always looking for ways to do things more economically,” Wilkes said. “Utility savings are the most visible and tend to reap the greatest return.”

The university’s utility budget hasn’t increased in six years, thanks to conservation and sustainability measures that save $3 million annually.

On a related note, trustees approved a $2.9 million project to install 105 digital utility control panels on campus that are more energy efficient and economical. The money saved will pay for the cost of the project in 2.2 years.

In his report to the board, President Ross recognized the university’s Alternative Break program, which is ranked No. 3 in the country for the number of trips and participants — besting all but two of more than 4,000 colleges and universities in America.

A transcript of President Ross’ report is available on the president’s website.

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