WMU News

State Legislature approves 2.8 percent appropriation increase

July 16, 1998

KALAMAZOO -- WMU is among 10 public universities in the state to receive a 2.8 percent increase in state appropriations.

The University's state appropriation of $111 million is an increase of $3.1 million over the previous year's total of $107.9 million. Legislative action on the state's $1.6 billion 1998-99 higher education appropriations bill was completed July 1.

"It's disappointing that the Legislature this year did not choose to establish a per-student funding floor for doctoral universities," said Keith A. Pretty, vice president for external affairs and general counsel.

"We have consistently maintained that our per-student appropriation should more closely follow our ranking as the state's fourth most complex university," Pretty said. "WMU offers a large number of high-cost programs at the undergraduate level as well as a wide range of graduate programs, which also are costly."

The University's per-student appropriation becomes $5,474, which continues to rank seventh among the state's 15 public universities. Five master's-level institutions received appropriations increases ranging from 3 percent to 6.7 percent, primarily to bring their per-student totals to a floor of $4,296.

WMU officials have argued for several years that there should be three funding floors, one for each type of university in the state. WMU is the state's only public Doctoral I institution.

There are three Research I institutions, one Doctoral II institution and 10 master's-level institutions. The designations, established by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, are used to categorize the nation's 3,600 colleges and universities.

In separate action, the Legislature gave WMU a one-time supplemental appropriation of $2.2 million. This amount is the fourth highest in the state after amounts given to the University of Michigan, Michigan State University and Wayne State University. The funds are earmarked for infrastructure, technology, equipment and maintenance.

Media contact: Mike Matthews, 616 387-8400, michael.matthews@wmich.edu

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