Budget deal increases higher education, child care funding

This week, the Legislature and Governor reached an agreement on remaining state budget legislation (aside from the K-12 budget adopted this summer), including additional funding for higher education and child care.

For higher education, HB 4400 includes $2.2 billion in higher education funding – including increases for community colleges and universities of 1% in state funding for the coming year, plus a one-time 3.9% supplemental increase for the fiscal year ending at the end of this month.  The bill also includes $84.7 million to pay down Michigan Public School Employees Retirement System debt for higher ed institutions that participate in the system and more than $135 million for programs to encourage post-secondary education, including additional funds for the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs.

There is also a variety of language in the budget regarding COVID safety issues, including permitting higher education institutions to require vaccines for enrollments, so long as they provide religious and medical exemptions. Elsewhere in the budget is language limiting state and local health mandates around masking and vaccination, but the enforceability of that language is questionable at this point.

The budget is also being hailed as a “historic investment” in child care, allocating $1.4 billion in federal COVID relief funds to support child care providers and bring down costs for families.

Both the State House and Senate voted to approve the budget this week, sending the bills on to Gov. Whitmer for her approval (including potential line-item vetoes).

 

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