University President Lee Bollinger plans to tell members of the state House Appropriations Higher Education Subcommittee tomorrow that Gov. John Engler”s 2002 higher education budget proposal fails to meet the University”s needs.
Bollinger said yesterday he would tell the committee the University is “making very careful and wise use of our resources and we need as much funding as we possibly can get.”
Engler has proposed a 1.5 percent increase over the current year”s funding for the University, or $363.7 million in total funding. The University requested a 7 percent increase.
Bollinger said he will ask the Legislature to make up the difference between what the University asked for and what the governor proposed.
Bollinger expressed concern earlier in the day at a meeting of the faculty Senate Assembly, when he said the University “has to be prepared for the fact that we are running a very important research and educational institution and we do not want to lose ground on that.”
One of the questions posed by the committee chair, Rep. Sandy Caul (R-Mt. Pleasant), inquired “How much will enrollment growth by academic level envisioned for the next three years impact budgetary needs?”
Cynthia Wilbanks, University vice president for government relations, said enrollment has not been a budgetary problem.
“Our enrollment has been relatively stable for the last few years,” she said.
Michigan State University President M. Peter McPherson testified last Wednesday before the same committee. During the hearing, McPherson told the committee that MSU also required more money than the governor proposed.
The governor and various members of the legislature have expressed hope that the state will repeal the tuition tax credit program, which gives tax credits to parents of students attending universities that have kept their tuition increases under the level of inflation.
A repeal of the tuition tax credit would allow for an across-the-board increase of 3 percent, rather than 1.5 percent to all state universities, State Budget Director Mary Lannoye said Feb. 9. This increase would give the University an additional $5.4 million.
Among those who have indicated their support for a repeal are Sen. John Schwarz (R-Battle Creek), the chairman of the Senate Higher Education subcommittee, and Sen. Alma Wheeler Smith (D-Salem Twp.), whose legislative district includes Ann Arbor.