The state’s public universities — including the three University of Michigan campuses — would receive an across-the-board 4% increase in state dollars next fiscal year under Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal released Feb. 8.
UM-Dearborn also would receive an additional $292,500 as part of a three-year strategy to raise the “funding floor” to $4,500 per student at schools that historically have been funded by the state at a lower per-student rate.
Whitmer’s plan also includes $141.3 million in so-called Infrastructure, Technology, Equipment and Maintenance — or ITEM — funding for the current budget year. The one-time supplemental funding is meant to assist public universities with improving existing facilities, infrastructure and technology; addressing deferred maintenance across campuses; and extending the lifespan of these important public spaces.
Funding is allocated to institutions based on enrollment and would include $30.2 million for the Ann Arbor campus, $3.9 million for the Dearborn campus and $3.2 million for the Flint campus.
The governor’s proposal underscores the critical importance of higher education in the state’s continued progress, said Chris Kolb, vice president for government relations.
“Our public universities provide Michiganders with the knowledge and skills needed to access greater and more stable opportunities, engage in innovative and ground-breaking research, contribute to our economy and serve as cultural hubs across the state,” Kolb said. “Higher education is a great investment, and we’re thrilled that Gov. Whitmer and so many others have continued to make it a top priority.”
The governor’s proposal for the 2023-24 fiscal year includes $64 million in additional ongoing funding for operations at the state’s 15 public universities. By comparison, the current year’s budget, which was hailed by U-M as a big win for higher education in the state, included a $55 million increase in net operations, or about 3.7% more than FY ‘22.
Total budget recommendations for U-M’s three campuses in FY ‘24 are:
- Ann Arbor, $353.2 million.
- Dearborn, $29.5 million.
- Flint, $26.2 million.
The governor’s entire FY ’24 budget for universities and financial aid amounts to $2.2 billion, or about $173 million more than the current year.
The amount is made up almost entirely of funding that is condsidered “ongoing,” or recurring annually, except for a one-time deposit of $50 million to the state’s new Michigan Achievement Scholarship program. Another $50 million for the program is included in ongoing funding.
Under the scholarship program, students who graduate from a Michigan high school with a diploma or certificate of completion, or who achieved a high school equivalency certificate in 2023 or after, are eligible for up to $5,500 per year, up to five years, if they attend an in-state public university.
“Public universities are only truly serving the public when they are available to all students and families, no matter their financial standing,” Kolb said. “That is what we believe at the University of Michigan and why we prioritize our own need-based financial aid efforts like the Go Blue Guarantee. We welcome these state investments in our students’ futures.”
Other items in the budget include:
- $55 million to the Sixty by 30 Office to create new programs that promote student degree and credential completion. The office in the Michigan Department of Labor & Economic Opportunity supports the state goal of increasing the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree to 60% by 2030.
- $38.9 million in supplemental funding for the current fiscal year for a student wellness fund to assist public universities with evaluating, identifying and addressing student wellness needs on campus. The funding would be allocated to universities based on enrollment.
- $75 million in supplemental funding for the current fiscal year to create a “Reconnect BA Pathway” program in the Sixty by 30 Office targeting students who stopped pursing a bachelor’s degree during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The budget now goes to a state Legislature controlled by Democrats for the first time in Whitmer’s tenure, where it will likely be more warmly received than in past budget cycles. The House and Senate must approve a spending plan before the state’s new fiscal year takes effect Oct. 1.