I am a University of Southern Maine professor. I also support two children and live in the state’s most expensive region, so I understand fiscal responsibility.
To that end, I have been researching finances in the University of Maine System, and I have two simple facts to share with you.
• First, the only earned revenue in the University of Maine System is from student tuition and fees. Otherwise, the system is funded by state appropriation (your taxes), grants and gifts. Faculty bring in tuition dollars with every student they teach.
The provost at USM makes $105,000 more per year than I do, and he generates no revenue for the school. I and many other faculty members are often able to generate enough tuition dollars per year to cover the salaries we are paid.
In fact, many of the professors laid off last week bring in a cash surplus for the university, covering their salaries multiple times over with the tuition they generate. Their revenue generation is the key to a healthy, balanced public system of higher education.
• Second, last year, USM conferred almost as many degrees as the University of Maine. In 2012-2013, Orono conferred 2,102 degrees, USM 2,019 degrees.
Orono receives 50 percent of Maine’s appropriation for higher education; USM receives 29 percent. This makes USM a great bargain for the people of Maine.
A USM degree costs the state about 50 percent less per graduate than an Orono degree. This is precisely why USM benefits from the chancellor’s new performance-based funding formula: USM is efficient.
What is more, USM conferred its degrees in the most populous region of the state, the region that drives the Maine economy. Cutting those who generate revenue for USM is a terrible fiscal decision for the University of Maine System, its students and the state.
Jeannine Diddle Uzzi