Gov. Rick Snyder’s recommended 6.1 percent budget increase for state universities is “great news for students and families in the state of Michigan,” says Cynthia H. Wilbanks, U-M vice president for government relations.
Snyder released his fiscal year 2015 budget recommendations Wednesday in Lansing.
The governor’s budget plan calls for $76.9 million more for state universities, using what the governor calls a “modified version of the 2014 performance formula.” To get the full funding recommended, state universities would need to limit any tuition increases to no more than 3.2 percent.
The governor’s plan would increase funding to the Ann Arbor campus by $16.4 million or 5.9 percent. UM-Dearborn would get $1.2 million more (5.4 percent) and UM-Flint would get an additional $1.4 million (7.2 percent).
“The governor’s proposed increase will help keep higher education accessible and affordable and it will help to strengthen academic quality across all state universities,” says Provost Martha E. Pollack.
Both Pollack and Wilbanks praised the work of the Business Leaders for Michigan group for being a strong advocate of state funding for higher education.
“We are gratified by the support of the Business Leaders for Michigan as they joined higher education leaders in helping policymakers and Michigan citizens understand the important role higher education plays in our state’s economic recovery,” Wilbanks says. “State investment in higher education is a smart investment in the future of Michigan.”
In a statement released Wednesday, Doug Rothwell, the BLM president, says, “The governor’s budget reflects how Top Ten states prioritize state spending to grow the economy. In our view, state investments should be prioritized in areas that will accelerate the growth of our state such as in education and infrastructure.”
Wilbanks and Pollack also note that state universities must remain focused on trimming costs, finding more efficient ways to operate and seeking the support of donors. U-M is in the midst of a $4 billion fundraising campaign.
“At the University of Michigan, we have trimmed $265 million in recurring costs in the past decade and we are committed to trimming an additional $120 million in the next five years. In addition, we have increased financial aid to support students with need every year, especially providing more grant aid, which does not need to be repaid,” Pollack explains.
Wilbanks says university leaders will work closely with the state legislators in the coming months as the governor’s budget works its way through the legislative approval process. Typically university presidents are invited to Lansing in the spring to address funding matters with House and Senate subcommittees on higher education.