The University of Michigan serves a critical role in the state’s success through research that fuels economic growth, top academic programs that prepare the next generation of leaders, and world-class resources — from health care to the arts — that improve the quality of life for those throughout Michigan.
That was the message President Mark Schlissel delivered Thursday to the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education as the state Legislature begins considering Gov. Rick Snyder’s budget recommendations for the 2018-19 fiscal year.
Snyder recently recommended an overall 2 percent increase in state funding for higher education.
“As a research university, the discoveries we make lead to innovations that drive economic growth, create jobs and make our state and its communities more prosperous,” Schlissel said.
“We prepare many of our state’s most talented students to succeed and fully participate in a global society, through top academic programs and opportunities unique to a public university of our breadth and scale.”
In his testimony, Schlissel emphasized the importance of reinvesting in public higher education to bolster the state’s continued economic rebound, noting that the most prosperous states are those with the greatest number of college graduates.
The governor’s recommended increases in state support for U-M’s three campuses in the coming year are:
• Ann Arbor, $320.8 million, up 2 percent.
• Dearborn, $26.1 million, up 2.6 percent.
• Flint, $23.6 million, up 2.3 percent.
A 2 percent increase in state funding for the Ann Arbor campus, the president said, would get U-M “back to and even a little bit ahead” of the level of funding that existed before a 15 percent cut in 2011.
“I hope we can continue to work together to bolster this positive trend on behalf of the people of our state,” Schlissel said.
The president also described the university’s progress toward addressing two important national issues in higher education — sexual misconduct and college affordability.
He noted that while he has confidence in U-M’s longstanding and focused sexual misconduct prevention efforts and education programs, the university is “absolutely committed to remaining vigilant and to developing additional approaches” to make the campus community safer.
“This is a top institutional priority for all of us,” Schlissel said.
On the topic of affordability and access, the president pointed to the new Go Blue Guarantee as further evidence the university is firmly committed to providing need-based financial aid to in-state students.
The new financial aid program offers free tuition to most in-state undergraduate students from families with an annual income of up to $65,000.
“A goal of the Go Blue Guarantee is for each and every qualified student to feel that a University of Michigan education is within their financial reach,” Schlissel said.
“I call upon the governor and Legislature to work together with all of Michigan’s public universities to promote greater access, affordability and college attainment for our children.”