Economic Development, Government, and Higher Education

Business Leaders for Michigan tallies scorecards on state's 15 public universities

February 14, 2013
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Business Leaders for Michigan, the “state’s business roundtable,” works to make Michigan a top ten state for job, economic and personal income growth. Image via fb.com

The performance profiles of Michigan’s 15 public higher education institutions — and how they compare to their peers nationally — are now available online.

Business Leaders for Michigan, a statewide business roundtable, has released to the public Michigan’s Performance Tracker for Public Universities.

The online tool allows educators, business and community leaders, policy makers and prospective and current students to inspect how each university handles its money — and their strengths and weaknesses.

The Performance Tracker provides each university and college with a scorecard, complete with downloadable graphs and data sheets. Each scorecard contains four data categories — and about 30 different metrics — that include state appropriations, productivity and efficiency, affordability and access and the school's economic impact.

For instance, Grand Valley State University's scorecard is available here.

“The Performance Tracker shows what a college education at a Michigan university will cost, and, generally, what kind of outcomes universities produce for that investment,” said Doug Rothwell, BLM president and CEO. "It places Michigan at the forefront of higher education transparency and accountability.”

The tracker's data is taken from 2012 numbers submitted by the universities themselves and will be updated annually.

“It was real clear that the vast majority are producing critical skills . . . in highly sought-after degrees," said Kelly Chesney, BLM vice president of marketing and communications. "Michigan universities are producing above their peers. Also, our university system does not receive as much state support as other states. That is reflected in our tuition costs.”

Looking at the data, she said one thing is clear: Michigan has great colleges, but little government support. Gov. Rick Snyder recently announced his budget plan to raise higher education funding by 2 percent, a decision supported by BLM.

“We were pleased to see the governor put additional dollars into education," Chesney said. "We strongly believe in investing in our higher education system."

BLM began work on the Performance Tracker last year. The data used to flesh it out was taken directly from the Integrated Post Secondary Data System through the National Center of Education of Statistics, which is funded by the federal government.

The data is the most reliable source of its kind for university funding across the nation, Chesney said. It compares Michigan universities with other national higher education platforms similar in size and budget.

The Performance Tracker is not an individual critique of any college or university, she said, but, rather, an objective, fact based informational tool to help Michigan’s education system.

BLM provided a list of its key findings based on the data charted in the Performance Tracker.

  • 13 of 15 universities are below their peer average for state support
  • 10 of 15 universities are above their peer median in producing total degrees and seven of 15 are among the top 20 percent of peers
  • 13 of 15 universities are above their peer median in producing degrees in critical skills areas and eight of 15 are in the top 20 percent of peers
  • As a group, Michigan’s public universities rank fifth in total degrees produced and fourth nationally in critical skills degrees produced, such as science, technology, engineering and math
  • 10 of 15 are higher than their peer average for average net price of attendance for in-state students 

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