Snyder's budget proposal could mean $1.6 million more for CMU

The $50.9 billion budget plan proposed by Gov. Rick Snyder on Thursday would increase Central Michigan University's state funding by about $1.6 million.

The proposed budget includes a two-percent increase in appropriations for public colleges, universities and community colleges.

Universities will also be expected to keep tuition and fee rate increases under four-percent each year or else risk losing state funding. Lawmakers implemented a similar tuition restraint mechanism into the current fiscal year budget.

CMU Director of Federal Programs and Government Relations Toby Roth said Snyder's proposition is taking higher education down the right path, and if CMU receives the full two-percent increase in funding, the university would receive about $1.6 million more in funding for next year.

"I think it's a good start," Roth said. "Two years ago, Snyder cut higher education by 15 percent, last year raised it by three percent and is now proposing to (raise) it two percent. We are headed back in the right direction."

Under Snyder's proposal, the amount of funding a school receives depends on its ability to meet certain performance standards such as graduation rates, the amount of research being conducted and the number of graduates in high-demand degree programs.

Roth said these performance standards are weighted on various factors, so there is no set number to securely determine if a school is meeting these standards. Roth also said the amount of money the university receives is not necessarily set in stone.

"Last year with the budget plan, (Central Michigan University) didn't receive close to what the governor proposed," Roth said.

Last year, the university anticipated receiving a 3.8-percent boost in state funding following Snyder's original budget proposal, but after the Legislature reached a compromise, CMU only saw a 2.2-percent funding increase.

The university's 2012-13 operating budget sits at $441 million.

Each college and university gets compared to other schools in its respective conference, which gives schools incentive to improve their programs, Roth said. CMU's performance is evaluated against all of the schools in the Mid-American Conference.

"There are always things the university is working to improve upon; we are constantly working," Roth said.

Overall, Snyder's budget would increase state funding by five percent. The budget also includes additional funding for K-12 schools and a gas tax hike.

Lawmakers are expected to discuss and revise Snyder's proposal over the course of the next several months before creating a finalized version. Last year, that process concluded in June. The next fiscal year begins Oct. 1.