Education Bill Goes to Legislature
legislative panel approved a deal Wednesday that would restore 1.5
percent of the 5 percent cut from Northern’s state appropriation
through an executive order issued in December. It would also allow
most of the state’s 15 public universities to increase tuition and
fees by 2.8 percent – the rate of inflation – and still avoid a
significant cut. The plan awaits final approval from the legislature
and Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
state previously approved a 3 percent restoration of base budget
funding for universities that kept their tuition and fee increases
at or below the Detroit Consumer Price Index (CPI) and implemented
no tuition increase after Dec.
1, 2003. Because NMU and Lake
implemented mid-year increases
before the tuition restraint language was signed into law, they
do not qualify for the full 3 percent restoration. Receiving half
– 1.5 percent – would have an impact of about $700,000 on NMU.
primary focus is to sustain quality education at NMU, so we will
have to discuss the options for revising our budget downward to
absorb the $700,000 through such measures as reduced university
travel and delays on equipment purchases and other planned spending,”
said NMU President Les Wong. “It’s a relief to
finally receive some indication of where our funding level will
be for the current fiscal year, which started July 1. Having a completed
bill will help us move forward with the planning process.”
addition to NMU and LSSU, Western
did not qualify for the full
restoration because it raised a records fee levied against freshmen
and transfer students from $100 to $500. According to the Associated
Press, if WMU doesn’t give impacted students a $200 refund, it will
not recoup any lost state funding.
2.4 percent tuition increase for fall is below the 2.8 cap approved
Wednesday by the House-Senate higher education conference committee.
Three universities – Michigan
– could only limit their increases
to 2.4 percent because each had circumstances that prevented them
from fully complying with the tuition restraint language.