James Hohman of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy, writes today that the state of Michigan is contemplating spending $1.63 billion on higher ed appropriations, noting that this amount
is more than what the Michigan Business Tax has brought in to the Treasury so far this year. But few ask what taxpayers get in return for this annual appropriation, and fewer still ask whether the state can get more for less.Hohman indicates that while the state of Michigan has been in economic peril the past few years, the colleges and universities have fared much better in becoming bloated:
The number of administrators and service staff in Michigan's 15 state universities increased from 19,576 in 2005 to 22,472 in 2009. And in addition to all the new employees, average compensation increased by 13 percent as well.He also cited one of my favorite higher ed writers in suggesting that
Total noninstructional, nonresearch expenses in Michigan's public universities increased $683.7 million since 2005, though appropriations remained fairly constant.
Michigan is not alone in the rise of university overhead. A report from the Center for College Affordability and Productivity shows a 20-year rise in administration and support staff. When asked about what students get out of increased administration and support staff, CCAP analyst Daniel Bennett responded: "higher costs and more bureaucratic red tape."