State Budget Deal Reached
Northern’s overall state funding will increase by 1.3 percent, based on the new budget agreement approved by the Michigan Legislature early Wednesday. The bulk of the funding boost -- $448,000 – is the result of an across-the-board 1 percent increase for state universities, not the 2.5 percent originally proposed by Gov. Jennifer Granholm. The remaining $131,000 is earmarked to cover a portion of the unfunded Indian Tuition Waiver mandated payment.
“This modest increase is a welcome sign of the state’s interest in investing in higher education and in the success of our students,” said NMU President Les Wong.
But Wong’s reaction is tempered by the following comparison: because Northern’s FY2007 appropriation was reduced by $806,000 from its original starting point and the FY2008 increase is based on that lower adjusted amount, the net increase is actually 0.4 percent over last year.
Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration) said the bottom line shows that NMU is scheduled to receive about $46 million from the state for the university’s fiscal year, which began July 1 (the state’s fiscal year began Oct. 1).
“The final figure falls close to being in line with the budget we presented to the [university’s] board in September,” Leach said. “Assuming there are no further adjustments in the appropriation, we do not anticipate the university needing a mid-year tuition increase. However, we will continue to monitor state revenues throughout the year because, in the past, lower-than-expected revenues have resulted in executive orders that have reduced higher education funding during the middle of the fiscal year. We need to be cautious of that.”
Lawmakers had approved a 30-day extension at the end of September to avert an extended shutdown and used most of it to finalize the deal before Wednesday’s midnight deadline. The budget plan awaits the governor’s signature.