State budget has more U-M funding, supports EV center

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Michigan lawmakers approved a 2022-23 budget July 1 that will substantially increase state funding for the University of Michigan’s three campuses.

The $76 billion spending plan also directs support toward a wide range of university-related research areas and interests, including $130 million for an electric vehicle center on the Ann Arbor campus and additional dollars to increase state support at UM-Dearborn and UM-Flint.

“This budget plan is a big win for higher education, students and families in the state of Michigan, and I commend our lawmakers and our governor for working together to make it happen,” President Mary Sue Coleman said.

“The University of Michigan is proud to be a part of our state’s continued prosperity, and this support will allow us to better carry out our mission as a center for research, education and health care in service to the public.”

The state’s $2 billion higher education budget includes a $55 million increase in net operations, or about 3.7%, across the state’s 15 public universities. The budget allocates a base operations increase of $16.4 million, or about 5%, for a total appropriation of $339.2 million for the Ann Arbor campus.

UM-Dearborn will receive $28.1 million, a 5.7% net increase, and UM-Flint will receive $25.2 million, a 4% net increase.

For the regional campuses, a portion of the increase comes from the first year of a three-year plan to phase in a $4,500-per-student funding floor at five universities that have historically been funded by the state at a lower rate.

The full appropriations are contingent on in-state undergraduate tuition increases of no more than 5 percent or $722, whichever is greater. Tuition increases this year on all three campuses were well below that level.

“I am deeply appreciative of the Legislature and Governor Whitmer for this year’s funding for higher education,” UM-Flint Chancellor Deba Dutta said.

“The overwhelming majority of our students are from Michigan and remain in the state after graduation. The continued investment in regional institutions like UM-Flint allows us to continue building a strong future for our state.”

U-M leaders have long advocated to lawmakers for greater statewide funding for all of Michigan’s 15 public universities.

“This year’s higher education state budget is a consequential investment in the future of the state of Michigan,” UM-Dearborn Chancellor Domenico Grasso said.

“This much-needed investment will provide financial relief to numerous students and will help our state expand its educated workforce needed for today’s jobs and careers. We are grateful for the additional funding and the effort to equalize funding, per student, among Michigan’s great universities.”

On the Ann Arbor campus, the budgetary support for creating the Michigan Electric Vehicle Center will allow the state to leverage the existing resources at U-M and the state’s other educational institutions to focus on the future of electric-vehicle technology and workforce development.

Those resources at U-M include the Michigan Battery Lab, Mcity, the U-M Transportation Research Institute and the newly created Department of Robotics. This concentration makes the university and its College of Engineering uniquely positioned to lead this statewide effort, U-M officials said.

“This state investment is critical to solidifying the leadership position of our state — and our nation — in the electric vehicle industry,” said Rick Fitzgerald, U-M spokesperson. “While there are many details to be addressed in the coming months, we are confident this new center will be critical to creating the research, technology and highly skilled workforce needed for the rapidly emerging electric vehicle industry, keeping our state at the center of the mobility industry.”

The state budget for the fiscal year that begins Oct. 1 also includes:

  • $100 million for the Detroit Center for Innovation. U-M will operate the academic center as part of the three-building DCI development once construction is completed.
  • $11 million to Michigan Medicine’s pediatric emergency psychiatry and day program for children and adults.
  • $1 million to the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention for training and technical assistance to school districts for local violence-prevention strategies intended to reduce school violence.
  • $427,500 for U-M and Saginaw Valley State University to provide the Roadmaps digital curricula to grades K-5 in Title I schools in rural or urban areas.
  • A new $250 million postsecondary scholarship fund with details still to be determined.
  • $50 million for colleges and universities to pay unpaid student teachers up to $9,600 per semester.
  • $25 million to offset tuition costs for college students earning their initial teacher certification who go on to work in Michigan-based schools.

“Our hope is that this year’s budget signals a new era in our state when it comes to higher education,” said Chris Kolb, vice president for government relations. “When you invest in these institutions and when you invest in the students who will be our future doctors, teachers, engineers and leaders of all kinds, then you invest in the future of Michigan.”

The budget now goes to Whitmer, who is expected to sign the spending plan.

(07/20/2022 update: Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has signed the state budget, including the portion funding higher education, and it will take effect Oct. 1.)

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