DETROIT — According to a survey conducted by Business Leaders for Michigan in January, Michigan voters strongly believe the state’s universities play an important role in the creation of new jobs.
“Nearly 92 percent of respondents said universities were very or somewhat important to creating jobs,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of Business Leaders for Michigan. “These results confirm that Michigan voters clearly understand our public universities are one of our greatest assets for growing jobs and Michigan’s economy.”
In addition, voters also believe that additional funding should be tied to performance in key areas. Nearly 68 percent of voters support the idea of allowing universities to earn back some of the money that has been cut from higher education if universities increase their graduation and retention rates, keep administrative costs low, and increase financial aid. By a margin of 47 to 33 percent, voters preferred this idea to a proposal that would give every Michigan college student $9,500 without being linked to results. “Voters are willing to support more funding for our universities, but they want accountability and performance for that investment,” said Rothwell.
Finally, by an overwhelming margin of 87 to 8 percent, voters strongly oppose the idea of amending the Michigan Constitution to create one statewide system to manage Michigan’s universities. “Voters do not want to create another statewide bureaucracy, particularly when they learn that Michigan’s university administrative costs are actually lower than other states with statewide systems,” Rothwell explained.
The telephone survey of 600 registered voters was conducted by the Glengariff Group Inc., with a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percent. Business Leaders for Michigan is the statewide successor organization to Detroit Renaissance, an organization of business and education leaders dedicated to making Michigan a top 10 state for job and economic growth.