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Report: Michigan still not above pre-recession funding for higher education

The Old Main building at Wayne State University
Wikimedia Commons

Many states across the country cut funding for public higher education during the Great Recession. A new report shows the money hasn’t been replaced in most states – including in Michigan.

A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report looks at how states have slashed funding for public universities over the last decade. Michigan ranks in the middle. However, experts say that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Peter Ruark is the senior policy analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy. He said because Michigan went through its own “mini-recession” before 2008, the state has been cutting higher education funding a lot longer than other states.

“We have the dubious distinction of kind of leading the way in cutting state funding for public universities and having students and their families make up the costs through higher tuition and fees,” he said.

The fiscal year 2018 state budget will spend two-percent more on public universities. However, several universities are still below their 2010 to 2011 state funding levels.

Daniel Hurley is the CEO of Michigan Association of State Universities. He said state financing has improved over the last couple years, but not enough.

“These are the good times in terms of revenue, forecast growth and low unemployment,” he said. “What happens when there is a return to another recession?” 

Before becoming the newest Capitol reporter for the Michigan Public Radio Network, Cheyna Roth was an attorney. She spent her days fighting it out in court as an assistant prosecuting attorney for Ionia County. Eventually, Cheyna took her investigative and interview skills and moved on to journalism. She got her masters at Michigan State University and was a documentary filmmaker, podcaster, and freelance writer before finding her home with NPR. Very soon after joining MPRN, Cheyna started covering the 2016 presidential election, chasing after Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton, and all their surrogates as they duked it out for Michigan. Cheyna also focuses on the Legislature and criminal justice issues for MPRN. Cheyna is obsessively curious, a passionate storyteller, and an occasional backpacker. Follow her on Twitter at @Cheyna_R
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