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Week of February 21, 2011

Governor’s budget cuts `significant,’ expected

Gov. Rick Snyder’s fiscal year 2012 budget proposal would reduce funding for U-M’s Ann Arbor campus to levels not seen in more than two decades. President Mary Sue Coleman called the proposal “significant,” but expected.

“The University of Michigan anticipated this day and for several years has been preparing for a continued reduction in state funding,” Coleman said during opening remarks at the Feb. 17 Board of Regents meeting. “We have made substantial cuts in our expenditures in recent years. There is no denying that this will be painful, but we are fully prepared to do our part.”

Earlier that day, Snyder proposed a $45 billion budget that includes $1.2 billion in permanent spending cuts.

The plan for state universities includes two components. The first is a reduction in operations funding for universities of about 20 percent. The second component includes $83 million in funding to be shared by universities that keep tuition-and-fee increases around 7 percent or less.

For U-M Ann Arbor, the state appropriation would be reduced to $254.9 million, a 19.4 percent reduction from fiscal year 2011. An additional $13.8 million in funding would be distributed to U-M as long as tuition increases meet the governor’s recommendations.

These combined actions would result in a reduction of $47.5 million, or 15 percent, from the $316.3 million U-M received in the FY 2011 budget. Such a cut would reduce the Ann Arbor campus appropriation to $268.8 million, or slightly more than the amount the university received in the 1990-91 school year.

With continued careful planning, Coleman said, U-M will maintain its commitment “to providing both a world-class education, as well as access to that education for all qualified Michigan students, regardless of family income.”

The university already has cut $135 million in recurring costs and is in the midst of cutting its next $100 million by 2012. Even before the governor’s budget proposal, U-M was planning to find another $120 million in reductions by 2017.

“This is just the beginning of a long process that will unfold over the next several months,” said Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations. “We will need to spend some time understanding the specific recommendations in more detail and look forward to working with the Legislature and the governor to achieve the best possible outcome given all the circumstances and challenges we face.”

Snyder has asked state legislators to approve a budget by May 31 for the state fiscal year that begins Oct. 1. U-M typically sets its budget in June for a fiscal year that begins July 1.

“We know that Gov. Snyder has a deep commitment to a brighter future for all Michiganders and understands the critical contributions of higher education to the state’s economy,” Coleman said. “We look forward to working with the governor and the Legislature to secure a prosperous future for the state.”



Amanda Krugliak, arts curator, Institute for the Humanities, on returning to Ann Arbor: “I love where I’ve landed. Perhaps I don’t know what’s coming next, and I never expected to find myself back here, but I have a sense of what matters.”


The School of Art & Design Emeritus Faculty Exhibition is presented from noon-7 p.m. through Feb. 25 at Work • Ann Arbor, 306 S. State St.

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