UM-Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint are three distinct but aligned institutions.
Each campus has its own unique mission and priorities – and makes decisions locally to meet individual campus needs. Those needs reflect the students they serve, the work they do, the people they hire and the markets in which they operate.
UM-Dearborn has recently finalized its campus strategic plan. Initiatives tied to student success and experience, DEI, faculty and staff excellence and economic stability have been prioritized by the campus community and implementation is guided by faculty, staff and students on the Dearborn campus.
The Flint campus is operating under the Project 2020 strategic action plan introduced by its chancellor in 2020. As of March 2021, many of the initiatives outlined in the plan have been enacted, including the establishment of the new College of Innovation and Technology. In addition, UM-Flint also adopted a DEI Strategic Action Plan in 2020.
It’s important that the chancellors and the leadership teams for the two regional campuses set the programmatic and spending priorities for their campus communities.
- 50 years of independence: In 1970, UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn each had its own state funding and budget and was accredited separately. Our leaders on the three campuses do not support a single budget model that would effectively merge the institutions and their priorities. Read more on the establishment of UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn as separate institutions.
- Different types of institutions: UM-Ann Arbor is designated as a “very high research activity” doctoral institution. Its budgetary needs reflect its position as the nation’s top public research university and it competes for faculty and students with other national and international institutions that do similar levels of research. UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn are regional schools whose faculty and academic programs are held to different standards than UM-Ann Arbor for key principles such as tenure, research productivity and scholarly output. See a snapshot of each institution.
- Financial stability: Each campus creates a balanced budget each year that details its own tuition revenue, state appropriation and campus expenditures. Review the annual Budget Detail Books to learn more.
- Collaboration for efficiency: UM-Ann Arbor supports UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint to increase efficiency and reduce costs for all three campuses. In June 2020, the university committed $20 million to support student recruitment, retention and graduation at UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint. The university’s Board of Regents voted in 2021 to expand the Go Blue Guarantee to the Dearborn and Flint campuses beginning in fall 2021. The financial aid program for high-achieving in-state students that offers free tuition for up to four years for students with family income of up to $65,000 had previously been available only to students on the Ann Arbor campus. Additionally, UM-Ann Arbor leads and often provides financial and other support for many programs that benefit UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn. Read how in this resource.
- Lower tuition rates: UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn have significantly lower tuition rates to meet the needs of the largely local students they serve. UM-Flint tuition is 19.2 percent lower than UM-Ann Arbor; UM-Dearborn tuition is 15 percent lower. See the net price comparison and enrollment and state funding trends for the state’s public universities for more cost comparisons.
Click below for the university’s response to the ‘One University’ platform and the myth that UM-Ann Arbor has a $500 million surplus.
One University is a group that has argued for merging UM-Ann Arbor, UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint into one and transferring funding to the UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn campuses from Ann Arbor.
One incorrect assertion made by the group is that UM-Ann Arbor was sitting on as much as $500 million in surplus funds. This was simply not true.
The “surplus” or “excess cash flow” referenced by the group was a distorted view of information selectively extracted from the university’s consolidated cash flow statement that was shared publicly as part of the university’s annual, audited combined financial report – a report that combines the total cash flows of the entire university, including all three campuses, Michigan Medicine and Athletics. You can see the 2016 Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows on pages 47-48 here.
The group selectively constructed a number using only portions of the statement including items such as Michigan Medicine patient revenue – which cannot be used outside of Michigan Medicine – while excluding other sections of the report that included obligations such as debt payments. The result is a false impression that the university had a large cash surplus.
One University’s goals include equal per-student allocations in the state budget, extending the Go Blue Guarantee to UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint and pay parity for graduate students and lecturers across campuses.
The following is a university analysis of the group’s seven-point public platform:
One University Goal 1:
“Equalize State Legislature’s Per-Student Allocations: Currently the state-allocated funds that the University of Michigan receives for Dearborn and Flint students is HALF the allocation for Ann Arbor students”
One point that regents, the president, the chancellors and the One University advocates all agree on is that the state of Michigan needs to increase its investment in higher education at all 15 of our state’s public, four-year universities.
If we want our state to be among the most prosperous in the nation, we have to be among the most educated. Our state ranks 27th in the nation in per-capita income and 33rd in college attainment.
Leadership on all three campuses have been strong advocates for greater state investment in direct-to-student need-based financial aid.
Direct aid would lead to greater degree attainment, diminished student debt, growth in the Michigan economy and increased per-capita income. It would also allow students more freedom to decide where they wish to study in Michigan, and encourage schools to compete for the best students, regardless of their family income.
One University Goal 2:
“Extend Go-Blue-Guaranteed Free Tuition for Low-Income Students to Dearborn and Flint Campuses: The median household income of Ann Arbor students is $154K; in Dearborn it is $84K and in Flint it is $77K”
The Go Blue Guarantee is a financial aid program for high-achieving in-state students that offers a guarantee of free tuition for up to four years for students with family income of up to $65,000. The program – which includes families earning up to what is roughly the state’s median income – launched Jan. 1, 2018, on the Ann Arbor campus and also offers varying levels of tuition support for families across a wide spectrum of incomes.
The university’s Board of Regents approved the expansion of the Go Blue Guarantee to the Dearborn and Flint campuses beginning in fall 2021. Students who qualify for the guarantee also may be eligible for additional need-based aid to pay other college expenses.
One University Goal 3:
“Extend Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Funds to Dearborn and Flint: None of the $85 million allocated to support DEI initiatives on Ann Arbor campus is available to Dearborn and Flint students”
Each campus sets its own priorities for diversity, equity and inclusion that fit its needs. Even then, there are some UM-Ann Arbor-based programs that are supported by UM-Ann Arbor campus funding that also benefit the other campuses.
The DEI funding referenced here is a five-year commitment made in 2016 that is part of the budget for the Ann Arbor campus and includes previously existing commitments in areas such as student scholarships and fellowships; student academic and social support programs; compliance and accessibility; the Trotter Multicultural Center construction and more.
UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn have their own long-standing DEI priorities and have allocated funding in their budgets tailored to accomplish those objectives. UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn have already achieved greater socioeconomic diversity on their campuses and have focused recent efforts at attracting more high-achieving students through an emphasis on merit-based financial aid.
However, some programs funded by the money allocated as part of the Ann Arbor campus budget benefit students at the regional campuses, such as the Wolverine Pathways program, which prepares high school students to attend college.
UM-Dearborn’s DEI efforts include a number of programs and resources in support of women, underrepresented minorities, low-income students and the LGBTQ+ community.
At UM-Flint, the Intercultural Center (ICC) opened in 2014 in response to the requests from various cultural student organizations that expressed a need for a space focused on supporting the work of their organizations and educational programming related to issues of cultural competency and centering marginalized identities, especially people of color. In 2020, UM-Flint worked with stakeholders to create the DEI Strategic Action Plan for the campus.
One University Goal 4:
“Pay Parity for Graduate Students and Lecturers: Starting pay for non-tenure track faculty in Dearborn and Flint is $10K less than in Ann Arbor; Flint Graduate Students’ salaries are $7K less than Ann Arbor and Dearborn”
UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn are distinctively different types of campuses from UM-Ann Arbor and, as such, operate in different markets for faculty.
UM-Ann Arbor has a Carnegie designation as a “very high research activity” doctoral institution. UM-Flint is classified as a doctoral/professional university. UM-Dearborn has a master’s colleges & universities Carnegie classification.
The pay differences between flagship campuses and regional campuses are not unusual among our higher-education peers in the Midwest, such as the University of Minnesota and Indiana University.
One University Goal 5:
“Expand Scholarships for Low-Income and Working Students on Flint and Dearborn Campuses to Study Abroad”
The Victors for Michigan campaign was very successful on all three campuses in increasing donor support for student scholarships and fellowships. We know the leadership teams at UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn are looking carefully at ways to increase support for students in these areas and others.
UM-Flint has responded with the comprehensive Blue for You: Empowering Your Future initiative. Developed with the input of students, faculty and staff, Blue For You efforts are targeted at the needs of UM-Flint students in the form of scholarships, grants and other resources. Child care grants, funding for non-completers, partial-Pell grant funding and support for student veterans are just some of the ways UM-Flint is reaching out to students.
Because students at the regional campuses are more often older, working and have families, there is not the same demand for study abroad experiences as there is on the Ann Arbor campus. Even then, we know the leadership teams on those campuses will continue to look for new ways to support those students who seek study-abroad experiences.
One University Goal 6:
“On-Campus Medical and Legal Services in Flint and Dearborn: Currently students do not have on-campus access to medical and legal services”
On the Ann Arbor campus, both University Health Service and Student Legal Services are largely supported by student fees charged to each student on the Ann Arbor campus.
UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn are mostly commuter campuses with students living with their families or on their own in the surrounding areas. UM-Ann Arbor is a residential educational community in which nearly 100 percent of first-year students live in campus housing. It’s not clear that students at UM-Flint or UM-Dearborn experience the same level of need on their campuses to support these efforts through added fees they would incur. If there is a need, we would encourage UM-Flint or UM-Dearborn students to work with the leadership on those campuses to further explore these topics.
In Fall 2020, UM-Flint launched a pilot program for telehealth services through U-M University Health Service (UHS). The pilot program was a success and is now ongoing. Services available to students include episodic care, nurse advice, medication renewals, nutrition counseling, minor illness/injury care and sexual health (including contraception and consultation).
UM-Flint refers students to several health centers in the Flint community who are able to address student health care needs. Information is readily available on the UM-Flint website.
The UM-Flint Department of Public Safety’s Safe Ride program offers free transportation to health care centers in close proximity to campus.
At UM-Dearborn, the Henry Ford Medical Center clinic is across the street from campus. UM-Dearborn had a program similar to UM-Flint’s to provide free health care services to students, but it was discontinued for lack of use.
UM-Dearborn is currently exploring a more tailored plan for students in the areas of health and legal services. Details are expected later in 2021.
Additionally, with more than half of UM-Flint’s students coming from Genesee County and 70 percent of UM-Dearborn students coming from Wayne County, most regional campus students already have well-established relationships with local health care providers and receive their care in that manner. That’s different from UM-Ann Arbor’s residential campus, where students are more likely to be far from home and their family physicians.
It is accurate that UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn students do not pay a fee to receive Student Legal Services as students do on the Ann Arbor campus, and that’s something that could be explored if there is a need.
It’s worth noting that the top issue with which students seek legal help with on the Ann Arbor campus is tenant-landlord disputes. This may not be as big of a concern at UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn, where a much higher percentage of students already live in the area and commute to those campuses.
One University Goal 7:
“Coordinated Admissions/Transfers among All Three Campuses: An easier intra-university transfer system will encourage exchange among campus communities and boost enrollment and revenues in Flint and Dearborn.”
Among students seeking transfer to the Ann Arbor campus, more than half of UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn applicants are admitted to UM-Ann Arbor, compared with 45 percent for other institutions in the state and elsewhere.
UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn students also are able to transfer a higher percentage of “equivalent course” credits than other institutions: UM-Flint, 73 percent; UM-Dearborn, 64 percent; and other institutions, 55 percent. UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn transfer students and credit transfers have continued to increase in recent years.
That said, there is always more work to be done in this area, and we are confident that this is something the regional campus chancellors and provosts will continue to focus on.
- Historical highlights of the establishment of UM-Flint and UM-Dearborn
- Data comparison of three campuses
- How UM-Ann Arbor supports UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint
- Data on transfer admissions to UM-Ann Arbor
- U-M Budget Detail Books
- Consolidated Statement of Cash Flows (2016)
- Enrollment and funding trends at Michigan public universities
- Net price comparison for Michigan public universities
- New UM-Dearborn office coordinates campus academic resources (July 26, 2021)
- U-M extends Go Blue Guarantee, $15 minimum wage to all campuses (June 17, 2021)
- UM-Flint plans tuition freeze for 2021-22 academic year (March 30, 2021)
- Expanded Murchie Science Building opens at UM-Flint (Feb. 3, 2021)
- UM-Dearborn awarded $1.26M to boost student success initiatives (Nov. 2, 2020)
Strategic Planning & Initiatives
U-M Regent Michael J. Behm:
“The Flint and Dearborn campuses are incredibly important to the university as a whole, and the extension of the Go Blue Guarantee to these hardworking and intelligent students is very well deserved.”
UM-Flint Chancellor Debasish Dutta:
“My three decades of experience in multi-campus public universities leads me to believe that each campus is best served with a level of autonomy that allows it to chart a course that best aligns with its commitment to the student population and community it serves. UM-Flint, as a regional comprehensive, is proud of its sustained commitment to the city of Flint and Genesee County.”
UM-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso:
“I believe it is critical that each university campus be responsible for identifying its own needs and priorities and creating their own financial path to acquire and deploy resources as they see fit. Our community is best positioned and wholeheartedly committed to developing our strategic plans and initiatives for our unique community.”