Budget cuts

Gov. Snyder proposes cuts to higher education funding

Governor Rick Snyder recently announced a 21.9 percent cut to higher education funding.

Announced on Feb. 17, the proposed cuts would mean a loss of $10.6 million to Ferris State, making it the largest funding decrease in the university’s history.

Ferris criminal justice major Blake Mattinson said Gov. Snyder’s proposal will damage the state’s support for higher education.

“I mean, everyone is trying to promote education while also cutting funding for education,” said Mattinson. “I don’t think cutting school funds will get the state out of crisis.”

A reserved fund of $83 million has been proposed by the government for universities that maintain tuition increases at less than seven percent.

Communications Officer Marc Sheehan said since 2003, Ferris’ rate of tuition growth has been among the lowest in the state.

“The governor has included money in his budget for universities that keep tuition increases under about seven percent, and we would expect to qualify for those additional funds,” said Sheehan.

Sheehan said Ferris has had previous plans to compensate losses in state funding. In the past two years,

Ferris has reduced its staffing by more than 100 full-time and part-time positions. Sheehan said Ferris’ staffing levels will likely continue to remain lean.

Sheehan is also interested in knowing what effects the governor’s limits on tax deductions will have on Ferris’ funding.

“We’ll need to see, too, if proposals by the governor to limit tax deductions might hamper private giving to Ferris,” said Sheehan. “That could present an additional challenge to replacing lost funding.”

Before a budget is passed, Gov. Snyder’s proposal will be reviewed by the state legislature.

“There is no doubt that the state faces very difficult budget choices, but these cuts continue a trend of declining support for higher education in the state that goes back at least 30 years,” said Sheehan. “This is further evidence that the trend will not be reversed anytime soon.” n