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Week of February 11, 2013

Governor proposes increasing higher-ed funding for a second year

Higher education would get a funding increase for a second year in the state budget proposal unveiled Feb. 7 by Gov. Rick Snyder.

The governor’s proposed budget — with a recommendation for a 2 percent overall increase for state universities — was welcome news on campus.

“A second year of increased state appropriations would help keep state funding for higher education moving in the right direction,” said Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations.

“We also applaud the governor for recommending that this year’s one-time funding become part of the base funding for the coming year.”

The governor’s proposal spells out recommended increases for individual universities that vary from 0.2 percent for Wayne State to 5.1 percent for Lake Superior State. Among the U-M campuses, the governor recommends a 1.1 percent increase for Ann Arbor, 1.1 percent for Dearborn and 4.9 percent for Flint.

For a second year, state funding would be distributed based on the performance metrics adopted for the 2013 fiscal year: undergraduate degree completions in critical skills areas, research expenditures, six-year graduation rates, total degree completions and administrative costs as a percentage of core expenditures.

The budget plan also provides for an additional $6.2 million in funding to be allocated among those universities that keep tuition and fee increases to less than 4.0 percent.

“We certainly agree with the importance of keeping college affordable and we will be mindful of that as we develop our budget proposal,” said Martha Pollack, vice provost for academic and budgetary affairs.

Business Leaders for Michigan, the state’s business roundtable organization, praised the governor for his proposed increases in higher education funding.

“We appreciate that the state has begun to reverse the decade of disinvestment in our colleges and universities. Investments in higher education contribute directly to our children and the state’s success,” said Doug Rothwell, president and CEO of the Business Leaders organization.

“As the state’s fiscal health continues to return, it is critical we move even faster to boost state investments in areas that will promote future growth, such as higher education,” Rothwell said.

The budget proposal now will work its way through the approval process in both houses of the Legislature.

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