$1.9 Billion for Michigan's Universities. Governor Continues Solid Support for Higher Education

Contact: John Truscott (517) 335-6397

Governor John Engler today signed the fiscal year 2001 Higher Education budget (SB 967) continuing his strong support for Michigan's 15 public universities and student financial aid. The budget bill, at $1.9 billion ($1.6 billion general fund), provides a generous 6.1% increase in overall operational support for universities. Building on the commitment to ensure that Michigan's higher education system is accessible and affordable, the bill increases financial assistance, provides for post-secondary scholarships and continues incentives for restraining tuition costs.

"This budget clearly demonstrates Michigan's commitment to higher education - at funding levels nearly twice the rate of inflation. It shows progress in achieving fairness and equity in funding for our universities," said Engler. "These increases will allow universities to hold down tuition and help ensure that all Michigan residents have access to higher education."

"I am also particularly proud that this budget bill includes $110 million to fund 44,000 Michigan Merit Awards to assist next year's high school graduates with post-secondary education costs. There's no doubt that Michigan's system of higher education continues to be one of the finest and most respected in the nation."

Demonstrating the Governor's and the Legislature's commitment to Michigan's higher education system, over the last five years the higher education budget has increased by 32.5 percent, compared to an inflation rate of 17.5 percent. Recognizing that universities must invest in new building and critical infrastructure to better serve students, the state has devoted more than $2 billion for construction or renovation efforts on college campuses since 1990; providing for at least one project at every public institution of higher education in Michigan.

The FY 2001 higher education budget builds on this tremendous investment by providing $1.6 billion in operational funding. The bill supports a 5 percent increase in operational support for every university and provides ten universities with more generous increases. In addition, $45 million in one-time fiscal year 2000 supplemental funding was provided in Public Act 291 to meet special maintenance, equipment and technology needs.

Highlights of the bill include:

  • Recognition of the five university tiers and related funding floors established last year and the necessary funding for seven additional universities to reach their funding floors. These universities are: Central, Eastern, Oakland, Saginaw, University of Michigan-Flint, and University of Michigan-Dearborn and Western Michigan University.
  • Continuing to encourage tuition restraint, modifications were made to the tuition restraint policy. Universities restraining their tuition growth to 4% will be not be penalized in their ability to qualify for future increases.
  • Funding of $110 million from the Michigan Merit Award Trust Fund is provided to support 44,000 awards in the upcoming year.
  • Funding increases of 5 percent for the Agricultural Experiment Sta tion and Cooperative Extension received. In addition, a total of $6.1 million was transferred from the Department of Agriculture budget for Project GREEEN.
  • The Japan Center for Michigan Universities, King-Chavez-Parks programs, and Michigan Molecular Institute each received a 5% increase.
  • Providing a greater number of Michigan students with access to higher education, an increase of 4.75% for student financial aid programs and degree reimbursement grants to independent colleges and universities.
"This budget supports a system of higher education that will ensure that our residents are provided every opportunity to achieve their goals," said Engler.