LANSING, Mich.— A committee made up of members from the state Senate and House of Representatives has agreed to the final details of the 2012-2013 state budget. The conference committee, chaired by Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, R-Lawton, met Friday morning and signed the agreement that provides money for Michigan’s 15 public universities.
“This budget provides funding to support the exceptional work our public universities are doing. At the same time, we are holding them accountable and asking them to demonstrate measurable improvements,” Schuitmaker said of the final agreement. “Throughout this process I have been advocating that our universities should be measured against universities across the country. We are living in a global economy and it doesn’t make sense to compare our schools only to Michigan schools.”
The budget provides incentives for universities to keep tuition costs down and increase their degree completion in critical skills areas such as science, technology, engineering and math. In addition, for the first time ever the higher education budget will measure universities against their national counterparts and provide incentives accordingly. The measurement will be done through the Carnegie Classification system. The Carnegie system compares universities across the country based on metrics measuring areas of student achievement and cost containment.
“I’m very happy with the finished product,” Schuitmaker said. “I know some people would have done things a little differently, but I’m confident that this budget agreement will really benefit our students. Our focus was always on measuring university performance and not just handing out money. This agreement ensures students will receive a quality education at an affordable cost.”
The higher education budget was the final budget to be agreed to by both chambers. Over the last few weeks the Senate and House worked to reach an agreement on how to allocate an additional $36 million that universities would be receiving. The governor, House and Senate reached an agreement late last night.