How did the University of Michigan end up with a $100 million dollar award for a school with a reputation for making bad decisions?
According to an investigation by the Detroit Free Press, the award is being made because the school decided to “divert” money from its $1.5 billion budget into a program that doesn’t work and that is also tied to a $50 million donation to the Detroit Tigers.
The article explains that the money will be spent on things like “tens of thousands of students receiving college loans” and the “facilities to house the graduates of the program.”
But as the article makes clear, these programs don’t help the students in need.
The university will use the money for a wide range of things that don’t benefit students or their families.
For example, the university’s budgeted for $4.5 million to upgrade and maintain the football stadium, $1 million for a program called “Student Leadership,” $3.5 for “student and alumni leadership programs,” and $1 for a new “community engagement” center.
The money will also go toward the renovation of the athletic field, which has been under construction since 2007.
The Free Press also reports that the Michigan administration is “diversifying” money around the country to fund its own programs.
The president of the university, the University Foundation, is trying to get rid of the school’s $1 billion endowment and replacing it with a new $100-million fund, with money to be used to hire students, pay off debts, and provide scholarships to students and faculty.
According to the Free Press article, “The new fund would be used primarily to fund new programs and to pay off existing student debt, with additional money going to students who are not eligible for federal financial aid.”
The university announced last year that it would be cutting $5.7 million in spending.
In a statement, the Free State Foundation, a Michigan-based conservative organization, said it “was surprised to learn that the university has used the $100M award to divert funds away from student financial aid programs.”
“The money would be better spent on building the new $1B stadium, hiring new faculty and students, and improving the facilities to house graduate students,” the group said in a statement.
The Detroit Free State reported that the administration has been working on a plan to use the $1b fund for a number of purposes including a new facility for student leaders, “to hire a new student financial services coordinator, and for a fund for student financial assistance to be administered by a separate state entity.”
It’s unclear whether the university will actually use the new money.
The Michigan Daily reported last year on the new plan.
The newspaper reported that, “A new $50-million endowment fund has been established to support the University’s strategic plan, and the University Board of Trustees approved a $2.8 billion grant in October.
But the plan has been criticized by alumni and students as a diversionary tactic, a waste of funds that would instead be used on building a new football stadium.”
The article goes on to say that the state’s education fund “will not be used for these programs, and Michigan State University is considering a similar move.”
The Associated Press reported last week that the $10.5-million student loan forgiveness program has been cut by $50 billion over the past decade.
In March, President Snyder said the school will take out $1bn in student loans to help pay for the stadium renovations.
“It’s about a lot of money,” he said.
“I don’t know where they’re going to get the money.”