Each of the state’s 15 public universities would receive a 2 percent increase in state funding under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal released Feb. 11.

An accompanying proposal also would provide $57.3 million in one-time funds for the current fiscal year to universities that have adopted certain pandemic-related policies.

The recommendations are welcome news to universities whose funding remained static this year amid a loss in state revenue due to the coronavirus pandemic, said Chris Kolb, vice president for government relations.

“Strong state support for higher education helps to provide opportunities for the people of Michigan and is absolutely essential to our state’s continued prosperity,” Kolb said. “These proposed investments are an important step in the right direction.”

The governor’s 2021-22 fiscal year budget plan includes $1.7 billion for higher education, or about $30.5 million more in additional university operations funding than the current year.

The 2 percent in additional funding is contingent on universities holding tuition increases below 4.2 percent, or $590 per student, which is equal to two times the projected rate of inflation.

With the proposed increase in funding, the budget recommendations for the three University of Michigan campuses are:

  • Ann Arbor, $329.5 million.
  • Dearborn, $26.9 million.
  • Flint, $24.4 million.

In addition to the budget plan, the governor also announced an accompanying proposal that would direct $57.3 million in one-time funds to the current fiscal year budget to ensure the state is meeting the requirements of the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act. The additional money also would help backfill previous university operations budget reductions.

State universities experienced an 11 percent reduction in what the state initially appropriated in its 2019-20 fiscal year, which ended Sept. 30. The decrease created a gap in revenue needed to cover university operating costs.

This additional money in the governor’s proposal would be available to universities that adopt policies related to COVID-19 testing and quarantining, contact tracing and other mitigation strategies for students living on and off campus to curb the spread of the virus.

The recommended budget also contains $142 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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