University of Michigan says Snyder 'moving in right direction' by proposing 2% increase for higher ed
Gov. Rick Snyder proposed a 2 percent increase for Michigan's 15 higher education institutions as he unveiled his fiscal 2013-14 budget Thursday.
Of that sum, $24.9 million is earmarked for the state's public colleges and $5.8 million is set aside for the 28 community colleges in Michigan.
"We need to make a commitment there and we are," Snyder said of his higher education funding proposal.
The increase follows a 3 percent higher education increase in fiscal 2013 and a 15 percent decrease the year before. Snyder proposes that this year's increase remain a part of universities' base funding from the state, unlike last year's one-time increase.
"A second year of increased state appropriations would help keep state funding for higher education moving in the right direction," said University of Michigan spokesman Rick Fitzgerald. "We also applaud the governor for recommending that this year’s one-time funding become part of the base funding for the coming year."
Susan Martin, president of Eastern Michigan University, said continued investment in higher education is key to economic growth within the state.
"We applaud initiatives that recognize the importance of higher education in helping to prepare our state's workforce to meet the needs of evolving industries and technologies," Martin said. "There is a direct correlation between a state's investment in higher education and economic growth."
Snyder proposed the allotment be subject to the same performance metrics he introduced last year. The formula recognizes universities for increasing graduation rates, the number of degrees awarded in critical skill areas, the number of Pell Grants awarded to enrolled students and tuition restraint.
"The funding formula includes metrics designed to help ensure Michigan college students are receiving a quality education at a reasonable cost by linking funding to performance," Snyder's proposal reads.
Though Snyder increased higher education funding by 3 percent last year, U-M's increase was 1.6 percent due to Snyder's formula. That year, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman suggested the performance metrics "penalized" U-M and were "very backward-looking."
Snyder also proposed issuing a $100 million bond in 2015 to reward universities that graduate engineering students and a $50 million bond for skilled trade training at community colleges.
"Let's have innovation," he said of the competitive grant proposals. "Let's have collaboration, and let's have people work together. But let's have people earn those dollars so we can see a return on investment."
Snyder's proposals are subject to approval of the state legislature.