Whitmer’s FY ’21 budget includes 2.5 percent increase for higher ed


In a budget proposal unveiled Feb. 6, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer is recommending a 2.5 percent increase in funding for each of the state’s 15 public universities.

The budget plan includes $1.7 billion for higher education for the 2020-21 fiscal year, or about $38.1 million in additional university operations funding over the current year.

To receive the additional funding under the recommendation, universities will be expected to limit tuition increases to 4.25 percent, or 2.5 times the expected rate of inflation.

The budget recommendations for the three University of Michigan campuses are:

  • Ann Arbor, $330.8 million.
  • Dearborn, $27 million.
  • Flint, $24.5 million.

Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government relations, said the proposed budget is encouraging, and evidence that the governor understands the important role of higher education in the state.

State funding for the three U-M campuses went up only slightly this year, with increases of 0.6 percent for the Ann Arbor campus, 1 percent for UM-Dearborn, and 1.3 percent for UM-Flint.

“Meaningful investment in our institutions of higher education is essential to our state’s continued success,” Wilbanks said. “We need a well-educated workforce to solve the challenges of today and tomorrow, and this budget helps to keep us on that path.”

Whitmer announced a goal last year of increasing the percentage of Michigan adults aged 25-64 who have a post-secondary degree or certificate to 60 percent by 2030.

Her budget proposal also includes $10 million from the state’s general fund to establish the Michigan Student Loan Refinance Program. The program is designed to enable borrowers with federal and nonfederal student loans to refinance up to $50,000 of their debt with a lower interest rate through the Michigan Department of Treasury.

Eligible borrowers must have used the loan to pay expenses at a Michigan school, reside in Michigan for at least a year, and have been making regular payments on the loans for at least three years.

The recommended budget also contains $142.9 million in continued financial aid funding.

The budget, scheduled to take effect Oct. 1, now goes to the Legislature, where it will be considered and ultimately face approval by the House and Senate.


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