Budget Awaits Governor’s Signature


The state budget package reached Gov. Rick Snyder last week after the final piece—education funding—was approved by the Michigan Senate. Under the plan, NMU’s appropriation would increase by 5.2 percent, or nearly $2 million.


“We are pleased that the direction of higher education funding has shifted,” said NMU President David Haynes. “The increased investment recommended by the legislature demonstrates a recognition of the important role Michigan universities play at the local, national and global levels.”


State support for public universities would rise by 3 percent overall, but individual schools would see increases ranging from less than 1 percent to 8.2 percent based on the following performance measures: number of graduates in “critical skill areas; and comparisons with national Carnegie peers in terms of six-year graduation rates, institutional support compared with core expenditures and total degree completions, including those at the associate and certificate levels. NMU is not among seven schools that would also receive performance funding based on research and development.


To get their full share of the $27 million increase, universities must have at least three reverse transfer agreements in place or in process with community colleges, participate in the Michigan Transfer Network and allow dual-enrolled high school students to apply college courses to both their high school and post-secondary degrees.


The conference committee agreement sets aside an additional $9 million to split among universities that keep tuition increases below the 4 percent originally proposed by the governor.


“We are developing various tuition models to present to the NMU Board of Trustees for consideration,” said Gavin Leach (Finance and Administration). “This is the first year of performance funding and we're not sure of the impact that will have on future years, but the state appropriation is a big factor in setting tuition. We also have to consider compensation costs, other inflationary costs and a possible dip in enrollment due to recent large graduating classes at NMU and decreasing demographics at high schools in what are traditionally our strongest recruiting regions. All of those pieces will weigh in the decision.”


Michigan’s public universities had their funding cut 15 percent for the 2011-12 fiscal year. The state's budget package should be finalized before Northern’s new fiscal year begins on July 1, while the NMU Board of Trustees is expected to set tuition at its meeting July 11-12. The state’s fiscal year begins Oct. 1.



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Updated: June 13, 2012

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