EAST LANSING, Mich. — Universities across the state could see a shake-up in funding that several Michigan business owners and officials from the University Research Corridor say could damage top research universities and the state’s business pipeline.
The higher education budget approved by the state House last week would tie a portion of university funding to the share of in-state students they enroll.
The plan would mean significant cuts to the state money going to the University of Michigan and Wayne State University next year. Michigan State University would see an increase of just over 1 percent. And most of the state's other public universities would see increases of 10 percent or more.
Overall, the House budget would send significantly less money to Michigan universities than the budget proposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the budget passed by the Senate.
Executive Director of Michigan’s University Research Corridor Britany Affolter-Caine says it would be devastating if it were to become law.
“It would deal a devastating blow to Michigan’s research universities and Michigan business in key industries that are heavily reliant on high-tech talent educated by the URC universities,” Affolter-Caine said.
The University Research Corridor is a collaboration between MSU, U-M and Wayne State.
State Rep. Mark Huizenga, R-Walker, chairs the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education and Community Colleges. He says the bill is a plan that will put students first.
“Our subcommittee assembled a student-focused spending plan, supporting universities and colleges based on how many students they instruct and preventing discriminatory mandates,” Huizenga said in a release from the Michigan House Republicans.
The business owners and the University Research Corridor held a press conference Monday addressing how the proposed changes don’t increase funding to universities but rather re-distribute current money leaving top research institutions with increasing deficits over the years.
Mike Jandernoa founded 42 North Partners in Grand Rapids to invest in entrepreneurship in the state.
“While I want to see all universities reported well, our top-ranked research universities invest more to train graduates in high-demanding jobs and deserve to have that reflected in their state funding,” Jandernoa said in Monday’s press conference.
The University Research Corridor projects that under the House budget, the University of Michigan, and Wayne State stand to lose nearly $300 million in total over the next three years. Michigan State University would stand to gain just $11 million on a nearly $300 million state appropriation in the same time frame.
Affolter-Caine called on Michiganders to tell their legislators to keep funding in the state’s top research institutions.
“We’re asking people who care about this and this includes students, their parents, our alumni, business leaders, others who care, to reach out to their legislators and let them know,” Affolter-Caine said.
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