LANSING, MI –
The presidents of three major public universities in the state told lawmakers Wednesday that budget cuts to higher education could hurt Michigan's economic recovery.
University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman, Wayne State University President Jay Noren and Michigan State University President Lou Anna Simon testified before a state House panel.
The university presidents formed a united front before the House subcommittee overseeing the state's higher education budget. The presidents told lawmakers the research institutions are a bargain for the state because they drive so much economic activity.
MSU President Lou Anna Simon says she knows the Legislature is facing tough budget decisions. But she hopes lawmakers won't neglect the state's universities.
"While they're trying to solve the problems that were created by the 20th century economy in Michigan, that they also invest in the 21st century economy for Michigan, which is public universities," she says.
Simon says public universities could be forced to hike tuitions if the Legislature continues to cut funding for higher education. The state Senate has proposed a three-percent across the board cut for the state's universities and community colleges.