1. State House proposal would slash budget for Ann Arbor campus

    Mark Rivett posted May 6, 2021

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    A Michigan House committee moved forward a higher-education budget bill May 5 that would leave overall funding flat but radically change how the state supports its 15 public universities.

    Under this new approach, the state appropriation for the University of Michigan’s Ann Arbor campus would be cut by nearly $40 million in the next fiscal year, a move that U-M leaders say would further transfer financial responsibility for the cost of education to students and their families. The university received $322.9 million from the state during the current fiscal year.

    The proposal calls for the implementation of a simplified per-in-state-student funding model that would phase in over three years. Historically, discussions about state funding for public universities have considered each school’s unique mission and capacities, not just the number of students. Lawmakers did not consult with higher education leaders before introducing this new approach to funding the state’s public universities.

    The result would be a redistribution of millions of dollars from the state’s research universities to several of its other public universities without any additional state support, putting at risk the university’s long-held commitment to ensuring that in-state students from all socioeconomic backgrounds have access to a world-class education.

    In a letter written this week to House Appropriations Chair Thomas Albert, R-Lowell, President Mark Schlissel called the proposal a “drastic move” that “does little to advance our state’s goals around improved postsecondary education and meeting the workforce needs of an evolving state economy.”

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