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President's testimony before house subcommittee (March 21, 2012)

President Lou Anna K. Simon on March 21 urged state lawmakers not to pit Michigan’s 15 state universities against one another for state funding, but to focus on equipping Michigan to compete successfully in a global knowledge economy.

Simon, in her annual testimony to the Michigan House Appropriations Committee’s Higher Education Subcommittee, also discussed principles for applying standardized metrics to assess university performance. Gov. Rick Snyder and Business Leaders For Michigan each have proposed a set of metrics for which to judge the state’s universities.

Below is a full copy of Simon’s written testimony. To view the "Impact: MSU across Michigan" video shown during Simon's testimony, go to

Thank you for inviting me today. I know you’re interested in our response to several questions posed by the committee, so I’ll start with those.

You asked about our annual commitment to university-funded financial aid. Over the last decade, MSU has steadily increased its outlay for student financial aid to keep pace with rising costs and rising student need. The portion from the MSU general fund devoted to student financial aid more than tripled in the last 10 years, and total financial aid administered more than doubled. Our own financial aid outlays have grown by 68 percent over the last five years. [i]

The goal has always been not just to assist students from poor families but to promote sustainable access for the middle-class students who have always comprised the bulk of our enrollment. Three-quarters of MSU students come from families with incomes of less than $125,000.

To your specific question, the financial aid MSU provided over the last four years amounted to $122 million, net of $3 million in short-term loans. That’s an increase of 30 percent in that period. The general fund accounted for $93 million of that, and the endowment fund accounted for $29 million. This year alone we allocated $104 million, including $1 million in extra nonrecurring support that will be committed to our general fund base in 2012–13. On an average annual basis, financial aid has gone up twice as much as tuition.

It is important to put this into context, however. Overall, MSU manages more than $600 million in total financial aid from all sources. Approximately 75 percent of all undergraduates get some kind of financial aid. The proportion for Michigan freshmen is even higher, with 89 percent of them receiving financial aid. We are still a middle-class institution, and nobody worries more than me about keeping high-quality higher education accessible to our core stakeholders, the citizens of Michigan.

Because of unemployment, wage stagnation, and other impacts of the economy—plus the loss of state assistance programs such as the Promise grants, which in their last full year were worth $15.7 million to MSU’s students—they come to us as a much financially needier group than before. It is our own commitment to enrolling Michigan students, therefore, that makes us particularly vulnerable to these kinds of needs. Despite these challenges, we have continued striving to maintain high academic standards and produce world-competitive students—to remain accessible to the most humble but be good enough for the most proud.

About 23 percent of our students overall now are Pell-eligible. The governor’s budget proposal, in fact, noted that Michigan State’s number of Pell-eligible students averaged 7,300 between 2008 and 2010 of the 62,000 Pell students in Michigan. Michigan State has more Pell-eligible students than the entire Ivy League combined! MSU is one of only two Big Ten institutions to maintain its population of Pell-eligible students over the last decade and compares very favorably to our Carnegie research institution peers, which average only 4,700 Pell students.

In addition to high-need students, MSU carefully monitors the distribution of its students’ family income and focuses significant aid resources on those just above Pell levels. Our increases in financial aid have risen anywhere from 10 percent to 17 percent in each of the last four years and in every case, those increases far outpaced the rate of tuition increases despite cuts in state support. Probably the most important statistic in this area is that in-state MSU students graduate with a debt load that is $1,500 LESS than the national average. About 45 percent of our students graduate with debt, putting us among the best in the Big Ten, and our default rate is only about a third of the national average.

Time to degree

We know Michigan State can’t satisfy our mutual concerns about affordability and access just by increasing student aid—that won’t solve the structural problem. As we think about how we can help make college more affordable for our students—without compromising quality and the value of their degrees—one of the areas we are working on is minimizing the time it takes to get a degree.

It is important to point out that at the same time we feel pressure to compress time to degree, employers are pressuring us to add new credit requirements in order to satisfy their needs. About half our students today graduate in four years—the median time to graduation is about 4.2 years, and we’ve been steadily reducing the median time to degree over the last several years. If we can help them graduate faster, we can reduce their debt load; however, the speed at which they complete their degree is often governed by other factors in the student’s life, which are often out of our control.

We’re working to configure programs to better reflect today’s career demands as well as financial demands. This is something our College of Communication Arts and Sciences has done with its Integrated Media Arts program. That college also has linked all of its bachelor’s programs to master’s programs, thereby allowing students to earn those degrees in five years—and in some cases less.

We’re encouraging the adoption of such linked bachelor’s-master’s programs across campus. Other elements of our approach include allowing more competency-based credits awarded on the basis of testing, expanding our online course offerings, and streamlining our course registration system.

Degree completion effort

Your second question asked about our commitment to improve college degree completion, including programs for nontraditional and minority students.

Reducing time to college graduation is assuming higher priority across the country as costs rise. Michigan State starts from an advantageous position, earning a “high” ranking in the U.S. News & World Report 2012 America’s Best Colleges report. The university’s percentage of students earning bachelor’s degrees in six years in 2010 was 77 percent. That is 15 percentage points higher than predicted by U.S. News, given MSU’s mix of incoming students. That’s the highest “plus” increment reported by the study, not only among Michigan’s public universities but among Big Ten peers. Our graduation rate also represented the greatest increase among the Big Ten, rising from 74 percent in 2006–07.

Our freshman-to-sophomore retention rate, moreover, is 91 percent, compared to our Carnegie peer group median rate of 87 percent.

But we can do better, and we are discussing and implementing a range of programs toward that end. Making sure students have the academic support they need to successfully complete required courses, avoiding the costly experience of repeating a class, is one component of the strategy.

Michigan State has long applied its assessment expertise to identifying and supporting students at academic risk early in their first semester. Programs conveniently offering tutoring services and remedial mathematics instruction in the university’s residential system—and in some cases in their own communities even before students start their first term—also are in place or in the works.

We are in the process of doing an external review of our Office of Cultural and Academic Transition (OCAT), our Office of Supportive Services (OSS), and our College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) with an eye to creating a more coherent program of support for students who need assistance in transitioning to postsecondary education. These are not just “students of color.” OCAT is about assisting all students with cultural understanding and culturally appropriate engagement, particularly in residence halls. OSS’s work is focused on first generation, low income, and students with disabilities. CAMP is focused on migrant student population.

For all students, we’re adding to our STEM discipline assistance, in particular mathematics help for struggling students. That includes some residence hall-based tutoring programs. Another program now under way is a low mathematics placement and performance curriculum for freshmen, providing academic support. We’re upgrading our student support services to reduce the number of course failures by identifying at-risk students earlier and to better prepare incoming students for MSU mathematics requirements.

All of these programs serve diverse populations of students, and the issue is how—with the advent of our residence hall cluster “Neighborhoods” concept—we can improve on the way the services are delivered so that we create a learning environment that improves even more on our persistence and graduation rates. The goal is making students successful, and we are continually evaluating our efforts toward this end.

Broadly promoting access is what we’re about. Michigan State was founded in 1855 as a means of statewide prosperity building at a time when agriculture was the prime industry—in a place and time not far removed from the frontier. But Michiganians already were subject to market forces beyond our borders, and we needed to get smart as a state to boost our productivity and to compete.

Few common people in those days had a college option. So we became a new kind of place where the classical course of education would walk alongside instruction in the practical arts. We became the first American university to teach scientific agriculture. It was a bold experiment, even radical.

Looking back today, we can see how it changed the game—and not just for Michigan. In the middle of a civil war that was going very badly, President Lincoln and others looked to Michigan as a pioneer in public higher education. After years of being told they didn’t have the money, Congress approved the “land-grant act” to put federal resources behind public colleges in each state. Michigan State was a prototype for what is now an amazing system of land-grant universities that made no small contribution to making the 20th century the “American century”—one in which America led in science and innovation and continues to pay dividends in the 21st century.

We celebrate the Morrill Act’s sesquicentennial this year, and it’s a legacy and a mission we still take very seriously.

Promoting access

You asked how we promote student success and degree completion, and we start long before our students get here.
We offer 60-some programs designed to educate precollege-age students around the state. These programs are intense, and they’re certainly purposeful in exposing students to potential careers and academic programs.

I’m talking now about programs such as the statewide 4-H personal finance curriculum for teens we rolled out last week.[ii] It was developed by one of our doctoral students, which illustrates an important linkage to graduate education. And certainly giving teens the tools to start budgeting can go a long way toward helping them take an active hand in making their own college education more affordable.

There’s our Community Language School, our Cooperative Highly Accredited Math Program and other STEM programs, and the Pre-College Leadership Program, among many others. Last year such precollege programs reported 17,131 participants, including 2,624 demographically underrepresented students.
We’re partnering with area schools for many programs, such as our Gifted and Talented Education program’s Intensive Study of Humanities, Art, Language, and Literature (ISHALL) program. ISHALL compresses four years of high school English language arts into two, and students can qualify as early as seventh grade.

We also offer programs targeting disadvantaged precollege students. We offer a High School Equivalency Program (HEP) that offers an opportunity for children of migrant workers to earn their GED. For older students, our College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) since 2000 has offered individuals with migrant or seasonal farm work backgrounds an undergraduate program.

We’re working this season with about 30 students from Detroit's Ben Carson High School for Science and Medicine to explore careers in health care through a partnership with our College of Osteopathic Medicine. The program is part of the 12-week "Future DOcs" series and is offered Saturday mornings at the medical school in Detroit.

Our OsteoCHAMPS program, another osteopathic college youth program, started in 2000 to foster the health career interests of disadvantaged high school students across the state. More than 300 kids have participated so far. The result is that 126 of them attended or are attending college, and four were accepted into graduate schools. Another 32 or so enrolled in allied health programs, five are attending medical schools, while 122 are in the high school pipeline for advanced education.

We have a three-week, residential Summer High School Scholars Program for Detroit Public Schools students. It focuses on increasing college preparation, academic skill development, and career awareness.

Once students get to campus, the university’s Spartan Advantage Program works to reduce the educational loan debt of our neediest Michigan students. As I discussed earlier, our own funds supplement other nonloan financial assistance so that the average costs of tuition, fees, room, board, and books are covered.

The College of Nursing’s ACCESS program aims to help students from disadvantaged backgrounds gain acceptance to the college, graduate with a bachelor’s degree, and become licensed nurses. This grant-funded program hopes to reach more than 500 students over three years.

We also partner with the Lansing School District to work with middle and high school students in a nursing college preparation program, by the way.

Michigan State is one of the national pioneers in designing programs for youth who have aged out of foster care. We operate a one-of-a-kind foster care camp to prepare them for college and a range of support programs, and with that we are building replicable models and promoting positive academic outcomes for this special and very vulnerable population of Michigan students.

We also are taking steps to improve access as much as possible by recognizing work students do in other places. We are working to increase assistance to students transferring credits from Advanced Placement options and from other colleges.

As the state’s largest transfer-in institution, we take seriously both our duty to remove as many barriers as we can and to protect the integrity of our own degrees through the credits we’ll accept. But note that 80 percent of all transfer credits are approved by us, with less than 10 percent of transfer credits rejected due to nonequivalency, Nearly half the credits rejected, in fact, are rejected because they exceed the 60-credit transfer maximum from two-year institutions.

To facilitate credit transfers, the university offers an online tool, Transfer MSU, allowing students to find MSU course equivalencies for any college in Michigan and many out-of-state institutions. We are expanding credit transfer policy to recognize college-level credits a student earns before coming to MSU if the student has a 2.0 in the course, including courses taken during high school. New policies also make it easier to meet MSU’s integrative studies requirements through credit transfer and to allow general education courses taken prior to and following high school graduation.

Expenditure reporting

You asked us about progress in compliance with Section 245 of the 2011 Omnibus Education Bill. I am happy to report that the website requested in Section 245 is up and operating. Note that the reporting is confined to the base salary and wage information stipulated in Section 245 and does not reflect income from performance-based incentives, clinical sources, or other sources beyond base levels.

Performance metrics

Finally, we come to your query on the governor’s proposed formula. You’ve already heard from a number of my colleagues and, clearly, we share similar concerns. But we’re really pleased the governor does include important access metrics, such as numbers of Pell students. And certainly counting degrees awarded is worth considering. And we’re also pleased to see that the formula reverses the trend of cuts we’ve lived with for the last decade and proposes a modest increase in state support. Our chief concern is that the metrics are too narrow in scope and may skew the marketplace over time. You also need to consider that Michigan’s K–12 demographic trend of lower future higher education enrollments will have an impact as well.

Michigan State has always paid close attention to our own metrics to track our performance, both relative to our own expectations and to our peers, to ensure we are doing what we can to maintain a positive trajectory on the important ones. We were one of the first universities to subscribe to the nationwide Voluntary System of Accountability, and we’re among the seven Michigan universities[iii] doing so now, to allow students to be able to make valid comparisons between schools based on metrics, including stakeholder input.

We’re not afraid to be assessed, but if your intent really is to incentivize improvement and recognize excellence, we need to pay attention to some fundamental principles. Some of these will sound familiar, as I mentioned them when I appeared before you last year.

First of all, we need to compare the 15 public universities not just to themselves or each other but rather to their national peers. It matters not how Lake Superior State compares to the University of Michigan or how Western Michigan University compares to Saginaw Valley State. It matters how well the 15 Michigan public universities are doing compared to our state’s competitors. Therefore, we need to use metrics that enable a good comparison with those peers. In short, we need to understand that we are really competing as a set, not against each other but against the world.

To be meaningful, the metrics need to be standardized across the country, they need to be accessible, and they need to be reliable. As the old data processing adage goes, “garbage in, garbage out.” And don’t compare apples to oranges if you hope to create a funding model that provides true incentives for improved performance. To that end, the Carnegie Foundation’s classifications are the most reliable way I know to compare universities against their true peers using IPEDS data reported by all colleges to the federal government.

And if you count only undergraduate degrees in the metrics as the governor’s proposed formula does, that ignores an increasingly important credential—the advanced degree. The number of U.S. jobs requiring a graduate degree is predicted to grow by 2.5 million by 2018, including a 17 percent increase in jobs requiring a doctorate and 18 percent for those needing a master’s.[iv] Another credible study released last year found that median earnings of graduate degree holders average 38 percent higher than for those possessing bachelor’s degrees in the same field.[v] The world knowledge economy is demanding more preparation, not less.

I urge you, instead, to consider the metrics proposed by the Business Leaders of Michigan. The BLM model proposes seven comprehensive and performance-based metrics that apply the principles I noted above. They focus on what the business community has identified as the four key pillars of excellence, accessibility, affordability, and economic impact. I’m really pleased to see you’ll be hearing from BLM next week, and I strongly encourage the subcommittee adopt the BLM proposal.

On ranking and reputation

Let me talk for a moment about some additional metrics. A survey last year of hundreds of corporate CEOs and chairmen in 10 countries around the world asked where they find their talent. What came out of it was a list of the top 150 world recruiting grounds, published in the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times last October.[vi] The top-ranked schools include those “name brand” universities you’d expect in a list where reputation is important—Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Johns Hopkins, MIT, Cambridge, Oxford, Paris, Tokyo.

Only one public Big Ten university also made it into the world top 40: Michigan State.

I think it is significant that among the top choices of this high-power group of global executives that, among the top 20 American universities and the top 10 public U.S. universities, is Michigan State. That’s the most important league we play in—a global league—and the state of Michigan is better for it.

Closer to home, our Career Gallery career fair last fall—the largest in the state—drew record student and employer participation. Some 5,845 students and alumni attended, up 15 percent from the prior year. More than 300 companies recruited there, up 11 percent, and that’s a very good trend.

Another good trend is our research funding, which has grown from about $330 million in 2001­–02 to $438 million in 2010–11. This is a good measure of the regard in which MSU researchers are held by those who award such funds and validates the cutting-edge work our faculty do.

However, the importance of MSU is not about rankings and recognitions. Yes, it is important that we have top-ranked programs and award-winning faculty, but it isn’t enough to just get a gold star and a pat on the back for scholarly work. What is important is that we follow our land-grant heritage and take those capabilities and put them to work for the people of Michigan.

MSU’s global mission and local focus

Michigan State is all about taking the best of Michigan to the world and bringing the best of the world to Michigan. We are one of only four higher education institutions in the nation to rank in the top 10 for study abroad participation and international student enrollment. We’ve been doing it since then-President John Hannah opened the nation’s first Office of International Programs in 1957.

Our view might be global, but our focus is local throughout Michigan. This is one multinational organization that will never desert Michigan or take our mission to serve the people of Michigan for granted. It isn’t just about helping Michigan rebound economically but helping Michigan become a vital hub in the global knowledge network. Criteria for greatness in this century will include global connection and competitiveness, a robust talent pipeline, and research and development that are relevant as well as theoretical.

We’re doubling down on Michigan, in fact, investing and partnering in communities including Grand Rapids, Flint, and Detroit even as we continue to invest and bring in outside support for science and culture and other priorities on our own campus. There, we’re promoting an entrepreneurial culture through a variety of academic programs as well as our technology transfer operation, business portal, and facilities such as our student enterprise incubator in East Lansing, called the Hatch.

Michigan State was born as an innovative concept, and innovation continues to be a key attribute, whether you’re talking about our experiential learning programs or developing the world’s most productive blueberry varieties or a blockbuster cancer treatment like cisplatin. And in today’s world, you do need the laboratories and other infrastructure to support that innovation.

Michigan State University educates medical students at nearly 40 community-based health care sites across the state, from Detroit to Houghton. That includes five main campuses for first- and second-year students and approximately 32 sites affiliated with hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers for our third- and fourth-year students. MSU’s affiliated hospitals count approximately 2,500 residency positions, and MSU provides academic oversight for most of those. Between our two medical schools, we can claim as many medical residents as any health care organization in the state. More than half our medical graduates, moreover, remain to practice in Michigan.

But first and foremost, we’re about education. We awarded 11,000 degrees last year, and this year we enroll nearly 48,000 undergraduate and graduate students, three-quarters of whom are from Michigan. Our proportion of undergraduates is that same as in 1970— about 80 percent, and in total we enroll some 17 percent of Michigan’s college students.

You want to know if Michigan’s sons and daughters will be able to afford an MSU education. You want to know whether we’ve done everything we can do to cut costs.

We’ve talked about this before, but I need to make a point here and it goes back to reputations. There are a lot of hurting schools out there cutting important programs such as information technology and engineering.[vii]

In Michigan, we’ve come through more than a decade of economic turmoil, and we’ve managed to do it while not only preserving our reputation at Michigan State but enhancing it. Our students—Michigan students—deserve more than a discount education at the very time they’re being forced to compete against the world’s best. They deserve the best value and for cost of attendance, MSU ranks in the middle of the Big Ten.[viii]

Michigan State has made cuts very carefully and deliberately, aided by our multiyear budgeting process. We made more than $110 million in cuts and efficiencies in the last three years, including ending or consolidating 40 academic programs. We eliminated postretirement health care benefits for new hires, affirmed our defined contribution status, and—with the cooperation of our employees—limited future health care cost burdens to the general fund to 5 percent annually. Employees also took a one-year pay freeze.

We operate with the lowest appropriations per student among Michigan research institutions. MSU is at or near the bottom of the Big Ten in appropriations and tuition per student and students per employee. You might have read a recent Chronicle of Higher Education report putting Michigan State second from the bottom of the Big Ten in the cost of producing a four-year degree. MSU, moreover, has the lowest total unit cost for energy in the Big Ten and consistently ranks as the most efficient for custodial, maintenance, and grounds staffing.

These are times that, indeed, tend to fray the fabric of an institution, but at all times we have kept the interests of our students at the forefront of our consideration. We understand the public’s purse is limited, and we don’t expect a swift return to top-10 funding status. We continue to seek new approaches to how we operate to again change the higher education game, but we will always be mindful of our three core values: quality, inclusion, and connectivity.

What do I mean by connectivity? I’m talking about our very old and very deep connection to our stakeholders: our Michigan families and communities. I’m talking about living our values and making a difference in the lives of people in Michigan and around the world. I’m talking about what it is we’re really about beyond the brag points and the metrics.

Service-learning is something I’ve stressed for many years. We operate a Service-Learning Center, and one of the things I’m really proud of is that registrations for student service-learning opportunities have more than tripled since 2001. We had some 17,900 students registering last year to work with programs and groups devoted to community service. Half of those registrations were associated with academic courses. MSU offers approximately 600 service-learning classes, and the center worked with more than 370 nonprofits last year.[ix]

MSU, in fact, last week was named to the 2012 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction, the only Michigan college or university to be awarded this national designation.[x] We won the nationwide award outright in 2008. Closer to home, we also were informed last week that we’ve earned the Michigan Recreation and Park Association Community Service Award for 2012.

Michigan State has long been a top source of Peace Corps volunteers, and Teach for America and Americorps were both among our top 10 new graduate employers in 2011.[xi]

You might not have heard about a program called the Michigan College Access Network, however. M-CAN is working to dramatically increase college participation and completion, particularly among low-income students, first-generation students, and students of color. M-CAN’s goal is to increase the proportion of Michigan residents with college degrees—or high-quality credentials—to 60 percent by 2025.

Michigan State graduates serve one-year appointments as advisers in selected public high schools, particularly those in communities with low socioeconomic status and low adult educational attainment rates.[xii] Working chiefly in rural districts, our graduates support and mentor students and try to steer kids to where they have the best chance of success—and that isn’t always MSU, given our high admissions standards.

One final metric: some 96 percent of our seniors said they believe MSU provides the support they need for success, and 90 percent said they would come back here if they could do it all over again. The same proportion rated their experience at MSU as good or excellent.[xiii]

I want to close with a couple things—first to encourage you to continue your support for the Facility for Rare Isotope Beams project. The state’s commitment to FRIB started under Governor Engler, and it was affirmed when we won the project by Governor Granholm, with the state’s commitment set at $94.5 million in support. We’re pleased Governor Snyder and the Legislature have affirmed their support, most recently with the Senate’s approval of SCR 28. The university has assumed debt to carry the project forward, and the state provides for payment of the debt service. Although including it in the higher education budget is a bit unusual, we agree it’s a necessary short-term approach, and we look forward to continuing our joint work on stabilizing funding for it. This is a $615 million project that is overwhelmingly funded by the federal government. The benefits of FRIB include more than $1 billion in economic activity, $187 million in state tax revenue, and it secures Michigan as a home of innovation and new technology.

I also want to put in a word of support for state funding of our extension and agricultural experiment station line items, which you’ll hear about in hearings next week. We agree with the governor that Michigan’s potential for really leveraging its agrifood industry is great, and we’re prepared to assist through our cutting-edge research and the boots on the ground across the state to help our local stakeholders apply it. We’re fully committed to working with our agricultural stakeholders to implement the outcomes of last year’s Agriculture Summit.

I’d like to take a moment to show a brief, five-minute video that attempts to capture what it is that Michigan State is really about—namely our dedication to service for the people of Michigan. Link to video:

Again, we aren’t looking for a gold star or accolades here, but we need to remind ourselves what we’re really about—making a real difference in the lives of Michigan families. Michigan State was founded to be extraordinary, bringing students from ordinary backgrounds here to develop the capacity to compete with students from around the world. In the process, we’ve become a major research university and an international player as we’ve helped the nation rise to the challenges it faces in science, technology, and innovation. In this year of observance of the Morrill Act, we remain committed to those same fundamental values of innovation, discovery, and application of new knowledge to current problems.

Our commitment to be exceptional remains, and we continue to be closely connected to the entire state to give even the ordinary the chance to become extraordinary.


[i]Total financial aid administered rose from $473 million in 2007–08 to $586 million in 2010–11. Financial aid from MSU’s general fund rose from $69.7 million in 2008–09 to $103.4 million in 2011–12.

[ii]4-H Build a Million Club

[iii]MSU, Lake Superior State University, Michigan Technological University, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, Wayne State University, Western Michigan University

[iv]“The Path Forward: The Future of Graduate Education in the United States,” ETS/Council of Graduate Schools, April 29, 2010

[v]“What’s it worth? The Economic Value of College Majors,” Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce, 2011;


[vii]Albion College moved to cut computer science and other programs in 2010. colleges in Nebraska, Nevada, South Dakota, Colorado, Florida, and Texas also have eliminated entire engineering and computer science departments.

[viii]$14,722 net per student (first-time resident undergraduates receiving financial aid, per IPEDS)

[ix]Center for Service-Learning and Civic Engagement

[x]Announcement at

[xi]TFA took 16 graduates, Americorps 11; total of 290 participants thus far includes 176 TFA alumni, plus 74 current and 40 accepted this year (not a final figure, as we have another deadline and final interviews)

[xii]Last year, 17 MSU graduates were placed as college guides in the following communities: Albion/Springport, Bay City, Delton (Barry County), Hazel Park, Holland, Ionia County, Montcalm County, Muskegon County, Newaygo County, Sturgis, and Ypsilanti.

[xiii]National Survey of Student Engagement, 2009–10