Think Tank: Mackinac Center for Public Policy
Review Date: July 5, 2007
Reviewer: José Luis Santos
Institution: University of California, Los Angeles
The findings and conclusions of a new policy brief from the Mackinac Center for Public Policy are poorly grounded and misleading. The report, entitled "Michigan Higher Education: Facts and Fiction," does raise a number of important issues concerning the financing of public universities, but the study is firmly rooted in a strong, ideologically based conceptual framework. Rather than explore how universities have been affected by or responded to state cutbacks and how this resulting behavior affects state economic growth, the report seeks to confirm the authors’ belief that there should be less government involvement in the funding of public universities. The authors narrowly focus on benefits from higher education that accrue to individual students, despite considerable empirical research from other scholars showing societal benefits. The report’s attempt to model the relationship between state spending on public higher education and that state’s economic growth suffers from these and other flaws. In short, the authors grossly overstate their findings and policy-makers should view with great caution the conclusions drawn and policy recommendation to reduce state funding for public universities.
Santos, J. (2007). Review of “Michigan Higher Education: Facts and Fiction." Boulder and Tempe: Education and the Public Interest Center & Education Policy Research Unit. Retrieved [date] from http://epicpolicy.org/thinktank/review-michigan-higher-education-facts-and-fiction