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Snyder backs 6.1% hike in aid for Michigan universities

February 4, 2014

Gov. Rick Snyder today will call for a 6.1 percent boost in state support for universities, the largest percentage increase of taxpayer support for higher education since 2001, The Detroit News has learned. Snyder will ask lawmakers to increase state university spending $80.3 million and give Michigan's 28 community colleges a 3 percent hike in funding of $8.9 million more in the 2015 fiscal year, the governor's office told The News exclusively. The proposal, coupled with smaller increases in 2012 and 2013, represents the biggest increase in higher education funding the Republican governor has pursued since slashing state support for universities by 15 percent or nearly $150 million in 2011, his first year in office. To qualify for the additional funding, universities would have to contain tuition increases to no more than 3.2 percent and meet certain performance criteria, Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said. In addition to the tuition cap, universities would have to meet a certain number of performance criteria based on six-year graduation rates, total degree completion and percentage of administrative costs to overall operating budgets to qualify for additional funding, Wurfel said. Wayne State University, which has a higher percentage of lower-income students than other state schools, would benefit from the funding formula giving additional weight to schools with a higher number of students receiving Pell grants, he said. Snyder has proposed the Pell Grant requirement the past two years, but lawmakers have stripped it from the performance funding criteria.