Colleges retain funds


    Community colleges, which provide much of the middle-skill worker education and training, have fared better compared to other sectors in the Michigan budget.

    State funding for Michigan’s community colleges in the new fiscal year starting Oct. 1 has been set at “the exact same” amount as last year, according to Bill Bowerman, chief analyst of the Senate Fiscal Agency.

    “Unlike almost every other budget in state government, the community college budget was maintained at the fiscal year ’09 appropriation levels, so there were no reductions in state support for community colleges in the FY10 budget,” said Bowerman.

    The legislation signed into law in early October by Gov. Jennifer Granholm appropriates $299,360,500 for the state’s 28 community colleges.

    However, there has been a general downward trend in Michigan appropriations for community colleges for several years. According to Bowerman, the high point in state appropriations was FY 2001-02 at $319 million — a 7.3 percent drop compared to FY2008-09. In FY2001-02, state aid as a share of total operating revenue at community colleges was about 30 percent; that has declined to slightly under 22 percent.

    Spending by community colleges increased over those six years by an average of almost 35 percent. According to a report prepared by Bowerman last spring, the driving forces behind the expenditure increases included rising enrollments, demand for classes that are more costly to offer, and increases in employee-related costs.

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