BIG RAPIDS – Ferris State University President David Eisler made the case Monday (April 28) that increased funding for higher education would be an investment in the state’s future.
Eisler gave his presentation before the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, who met at the university’s Big Rapids campus to hear testimony from Ferris, Central Michigan University, Grand Valley State University, Northern Michigan University and Western Michigan University.
“We appreciate the support of the members of the Higher Education Subcommittee,” said Eisler. “We were delighted to welcome them to Ferris State University and to host them in our newly renovated Interdisciplinary Resource Center.”
In his testimony, Eisler noted that since 2001 growth at Ferris has represented 22 percent of the overall college enrollment increase in Michigan among four-year, public institutions, making it the fastest growing public university in the state. He also pointed out that between 2001 and 2008 funding per Full-Year Equated Students at Ferris decreased 29 percent from $6,094 to $4,324 – a cumulative shortfall of more than $33.5 million.
Eisler applauded lawmakers for restoring funding that was initially delayed last fall. “The $4.5 million delayed payment was a strong action on the part of the state legislature,” Eisler said. Looking forward, Eisler urged legislators to approve a proposed 3 percent increase to state universities.
Reflecting upon Ferris’ growing student body, Eisler also asked lawmakers to tie higher education funding to enrollment. “The growth at Ferris demonstrates that students are responding to our message of getting an education that prepares people for successful careers,” he said.
Highlighting the focus on increased enrollment at Ferris, Eisler’s testimony came as the university prepares to graduate more than 1,700 degree candidates during ceremonies set for May 9 and 10.