A last-minute agreement among members of a combined state House and Senate committee on June 23 allowed University administrators to breathe a sigh of relief as they prepare for discussion of the coming years budget and tuition rates at the July 1314 meeting of the Board of Regents. The agreement gives the U-M a 5.7 percent increase in its state appropriation.
The Legislature adjourned June 21 for the summer without adopting the $1.9 billion higher education budget. At issue was agreement on how to allocate extra funding and the tier system proposed by Gov. John Engler.
We are pleased with the conference agreement on higher education funding for fiscal year 20002001, and we anticipate approval by the House and Senate this fall, says Cynthia Wilbanks, vice president for government affairs. If the agreement had not been reached, it would have left uncertainty about budget and tuition decisions. With the agreement, we can proceed.
The overall budget provides a healthy increase for higher education appropriations, and the 5.7 percent increase for the University is particularly gratifying, Wilbanks adds.
We are delighted that for the second year in a row the state has increased its support of the University, says Paul N. Courant, associate provost for university budget and planning. Once again, it will enable us to restrain tuition growth.
Wilbanks notes that language in the appropriations bill continues to support tiering of state universities, with a level of floor funding for each tier. Under this system, the universities are grouped based on size, mission and other factors. The U-M and Michigan State and Wayne State universities are in the top tier, with a suggested minimum of $9,000 per student.