Michigan House considering higher WMU funding
May 22, 2006
KALAMAZOO--The Michigan House of Representatives will begin debate next week on a 2006-07 higher education appropriations bill that calls for an overall 2.5 percent increase in appropriations for the state's 15 public universities and an even higher increase for Western Michigan University.
The budget bill, which was sent to the House floor by the Appropriations Committee May 18, is based on a funding formula that recommends WMU receive a 4.1 percent individual appropriations increase, which would mean an additional $4.5 million in state support for the University.
The House bill offers substantially more state support for higher education than the budget proposals being recommended by either the Michigan Senate or Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
Currently, the Senate plan would result in a 2.2 percent overall boost in state appropriations, with WMU seeing an individual funding increase of 1.8 percent. The Granholm plan would raise appropriations by 2 percent overall and give WMU a 1.55 percent individual increase.
"What the House is proposing is very good news," WMU President Judith I. Bailey says. "It shows that many Michigan legislators understand our unique strengths and the myriad ways we're helping to invigorate the state's economy and build a 21st-century work force."
The funding model used in the House appropriations bill allocates money for public universities based on the number of students enrolled (per-student allocation) and the number, level and type of degrees granted. It also takes research status into account by matching the amount of science- and engineering-related funds each university receives from the federal government.
WMU fares relatively well under the House budget plan when the University's 4.1 percent recommended increase is compared to the proposed increases for the other four schools in Michigan that are classified as research institutions by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
Michigan Technological University, which like WMU is classified as a doctoral university with high research activity, would receive a 2.1 percent increase. Among the three schools classified as doctoral universities with very high research activity, Wayne State would see a 1.9 percent decrease in support while Michigan State University and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor would see increases of 3.6 and 3.5 percent, respectively.
"The next step will be for the House, Senate and governor's office to work out their budget differences," Bailey says. "We're hopeful that the final bill they approve will reflect WMU's importance as an economic engine for Michigan and our growing national reputation as a top research institution."
Media contact: Jeanne Baron, (269) 387-8400, firstname.lastname@example.org