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June 16, 2008 - Image 2

Resource type:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 2008-06-16

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1 NEWS IMonday, June 16, 2008
2 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom

From Page 1
higher education, but she said the
bigger setback has to do with a$200
million shortfall in Michigan's
general fund. When the Senate
passed the 3-percent increase three
months ago, the state's budget was
projected to be about $9.8 billion,
but Fritz said funding has proved
to be less than anticipated.
Though the $200 million cut
probably won't come solely from
higher education, Fritz said there's
no way to tell which part of the
state's budget will take the biggest

hit. She said lawmakers will have a
clearer picture of what to negotiate
after leaders in the House and Sen-
ate meet with state budget direc-
tors next week.
That's when Rep. Pam Byrnes, a
Democrat whose district includes
the University's North Campus,
will begin work with a six-member
conference committee to decide
exactly how the higher education
funding will be split.
Byrnes said she didn't anticipate
any big cuts would come, hut added
that when state funds are tight,
higher education is usually first to
feel the pinch.
"I'm hoping that top decision

makers realize the value of our
investment in higher education,"
Byrnes said.
Byrnes said a finalized version of
the state's budget would probably
be passed before the July 4 recess.
The University Board of Regents
is set to meet Thursday to make rec-
ommendations for the University's
tuition rates. Cynthia Wilbanks,
the University's vice president for
government relations, said no deci-
sions would be made until the final
state budget was passed.
Wilbanks said the University
doesn't like to rely on preliminary
estimates of state funding when
important financial decisions are

made, especially given the recent
decline in higher education dollars.
"I think it's important to recog-
nize that when students stepped
foot on campus last fall, state appro-
priations had provided $323 million
to the University," Wilbanks said.
"In comparison, students who were
on this campus in the fall of 2002
had a $363 million appropriation
from the state."
Despite the earlier cutbacks,
Wilbanks said she welcomed the
state's renewed commitment to
higher education.
"This is really the first meaning-
ful increase that we've seen in a
number of years," Wilbanks said.

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