University of Michigan board rejects budget, tuition hike

For the first time in recent memory, tuition for University of Michigan students is in limbo as the Board of Regents failed Thursday to approve budgets that included hikes at all three campuses.

University officials recommended a tuition increase of 1.9% at the UM campuses in Ann Arbor and Dearborn, and a 3.9% increase at UM-Flint.

More: Michigan athletic department faces $26.1M budget deficit for 2020-21

After nearly all of the regents weighed and President Mark Schlissel spoke twice to the board, the regents voted 4-4 on the budgets and tuition increases.

Voting against the budget were Regents Denise Ilitch, Jordan Acker, Paul Brown and Shauna Ryder-Diggs.

 Before the vote, Schlissel said he asked for the tuition increase to make sure the university can continue its responsibility to steward the institution amid COVID and make sure UM has the money to invest in education and students “so this does not become a lost generation.”

Ilitch gave a lengthy speech saying UM has increased tuition for decades but that this is an unprecedented time.

She noted that the university could tap into its endowment or the $1 million line of credit it recently approved, and said it was “plain wrong” to increase tuition when the nation is grappling with massive unemployment, businesses that are closing, families that are taking pay cuts and more.

After the vote, Schlissel said the university will not have a budget by July 1, and he directed officials to bring another one to the July meeting.

The regents did approve a resolution calling for the university remain neutral in union organizing drives, allow a “card check” to certify bargaining units instead of secret ballots, and requiring both sides to jointly communicate agreements to potential members.

The vote was 6-1, with Ron Weiser the lone dissenter. Katherine White left the meeting and did not vote.

“I support neutrality, but feel there has not been public input,” Weiser said. He proposed an amendment but no one seconded it.

Acker explained his vote this way: “Neutrality is a strong way forward.”

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