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    Gov. Rick Snyder offered universities a slight increase in higher education funding for fiscal year 2013, provided they perform in a few key areas.

    More degrees completed.

    Better graduation rates in key skill areas, like math and science.

    Tuition increases kept to 4 percent or less.

    Snyder's proposal calls for a 3 percent overall increase in higher education funding, translating to a range from 0.9 percent to 7.6 percent for individual universities based on their performance in the key areas identified as well as the number of Pell Grant recipients at each school. It adds up to an additional $36.2 million, all from the general fund. Total university funding for 2013 would come to $1.4 billion, of which $1.1 billion comes from the general fund. .

    University

    FY 2012 Appropriations ($ in Thousands)

    FY 2013 Performance Funds ($ in Thousands)

    Percent Increase

    Central Michigan

    $68,108.9

    $2,571.8

    3.8 percent

    Eastern Michigan

    64,619.1

    1,499.3

    2.3 percent

    Ferris State

    41,324.3

    2,582.3

    6.2 percent

    Grand Valley State

    52,677.4

    3,996.1

    7.6 percent

    Lake Superior State

    10,789.5

    247.2

    2.3 percent

    Michigan State

    241,120.8

    3,297.8

    1.4 percent

    Michigan Technological

    40,733.6

    802.5

    2.0 percent

    Northern Michigan

    38,367.4

    1,292.3

    3.4 percent

    Oakland

    43,145.0

    1,599.6

    3.7 percent

    Saginaw Valley State

    23,561.5

    1,121.0

    4.8 percent

    University of Michigan

    268,803.3

    3,892.2

    1.4 percent

    U-M – Dearborn

    21,016.3

    571.5

    2.7 percent

    U-M – Flint

    17,762.4

    568.5

    3.2 percent

    Wayne State

    182,036.9

    1,682.4

    0.9 percent

    Western Michigan

    93,168.3

    1,438.2

    1.5 percent

    And while some universities say they’re grateful for any funding increase at all, following a 15 percent cut last year and a decade of falling appropriations, many are lobbying the Legislature for better treatment.

    The presidents of the University of Michigan, Grand Valley State University, Michigan Technological University and Saginaw Valley State University testified March 14 before the House of Representatives Higher Education Appropriations subcommittee. The bodies agreed in large part with the governor’s budget proposal last year, and they could follow along this year as well or offer a different budget suggestion.

    During testimony, U-M President Mary Sue Coleman said the metrics did not fairly represent Michigan’s already stellar education. The university stands to receive a 1.4 percent increase under Snyder’s proposal, one of the lowest rates in the plan.

    “By all accounts, the University of Michigan is a world-class institution of higher education,” UM President Mary Sue Coleman said, according to an Mlive report. “Yet, in the budget proposal that has been recommended, you could erroneously come to conclude that based on the performance measures that were evaluated; the university is a failing institution.”

    For the past several months, Snyder has talked about adding a performance component to higher education funding, GVSU vice president Matt McLogan said, so the proposal is not a surprise.

    I think it is entirely proper for a university to be held accountable for the investment made by taxpayers.  As to the specific metrics that have been proposed, I expect them to be subjected to review by the State Senate and the House of Representatives, so we likely have not heard the last word on which ones will be deployed.”

    McLogan said the university was pleased to receive the highest increase in the state under this plan, 7.6 percent, but noted the school long has received the lowest state funding per student.

    “The metrics are not, in my view, designed to produce any particular outcome for any particular institution.  Different metrics would likely produce different outcomes,” he said. “I can hardly claim to be unhappy with a favorable result for Grand Valley, which is lowest funded per student of all 15 universities.”

    The two schools said they already expend significant energy and resources on student graduation, particularly in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, or STEM, programs. McLogan noted GVSU made the investments without government incentive and will continue to make them with or without performance metrics.

    We made these investments years ago, continue to add to them, and will likely do so in the future whether or not these metrics are tied to funding,” he said in an email. “That's because we see these programs and efforts as important to our students and to Michigan's economy.”

    U-M spokesman Rick Fitzgerald said the university already pours significant resources into STEM programs and can boast an overall university six-year graduation rate near 90 percent, making improvement to play to Snyder’s standards difficult. Although the university’s increase under Snyder’s plan is comparatively low, Fitzgerald said any increase is a good increase.

    “What we hope to see is a commitment on the part of the state to keep improving funding for higher education in the years to come,” he said in an email. “We don't believe it was the intent of the formula to hold back funding for U-M. We're anxious to discuss this with the Legislature.”

    Neither school has committed to keeping tuition increases below the 4 percent cap. McLogan said the governor’s proposed bonus only is one-time funding, and GVSU might look for a more stable source of income in tuition increases.

    It might be problematic to give up permanent tuition income in return for a one-time payment,” he said.

    All 15 public universities will have a chance to testify before the Legislature makes its budget proposal.

    On March 21, the committee will hear from Ferris State University, Michigan State University, Northern Michigan University, Oakland University, Western Michigan University, the University of Michigan – Dearborn and the University of Michigan – Flint. On March 28, the committee will hear from the remaining schools – Eastern Michigan University, Wayne State University, Central Michigan University and the MSU Extension and Ag Bio Research.

    Lake Superior State University testified alone on March 7.

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