Gov. Snyder proposes restoration of higher education funding to 2011 levels
Gov. Rick Snyder announced today that his 2017 budget proposal recommends restoring funding for Michigan's 15 public universities to what it was in 2011, the year before he took office and cut higher education funding by 15 percent.
Snyder proposed investing an additional 4.3 percent, or $61.2 million, in state university operations. Central Michigan University would receive $81.1 million and $4.2 million in performance based funding, a 5.2 increase from last year.
"If the governor is able to get us back to (what appropriations were before he took office), I am happy," said President George Ross. "But, our state appropriations are around $80 million. Our state appropriations in 1991 were $91 million. Not accounting for inflation, we are way behind."
State budget reductions happened predominantly from 2002-03 through 2011-12, causing Michigan universities to substantially increase tuition.
Vice President of Finance and Administrative Services Barrie Wilkes said if CMU received the same amount of appropriations as in 2001, adjusted for inflation, it would reduce tuition by $100 per credit hour.
Tuition accounted for 36 percent of CMU’s revenue in 2001, but now comprises almost 60 percent.
Ross added that when appropriations are higher than the previous year it impacts tuition, but did not say whether it will increase next year.
"We have set our tuition in April for the last four ears not knowing what the budget is," Ross said. "I will remind you that we have had the lowest cumulative increase out of any university in the state of Michigan."
This increase brings total operating funds for universities to over $1.4 billion. Half of it is earmarked for across the board increases to all the state's universities and the other half is added to performance based funding for the universities.
"The state of michigan in its support of higher education is still toward the bottom of the country," Ross said. "(Snyder) promised he would put appropriations back (to what they were before he took office) and I think if he follows through and gets the legislature to pass the budget, I applaud him for doing that and its a step in the right direction."
Michigan's public support of higher education earned an F- grade, according to the 2016 state report cards released by advocacy group Young Invincibles.
According to Snyder's budget proposal, Grand Valley State University would receive the largest boost in performance funding — 6.8 percent. It was followed by Oakland University, which would see a 6.1 percent increase. Wayne State University would see the lowest percent increase in performance funding — 3.5 percent.
In addition, universities would be required to limit any tuition increases to 4.8 percent — double the level of expected inflation — or less to receive any performance funding, according to the proposal.
Snyder’s recommended budget will now be reviewed and acted upon by the Legislature in the coming months with the target of having the budget signed in early June.