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Coverage from across Michigan and the state Capitol with the Michigan Public Radio Network and Interlochen Public Radio.

Report: Michigan still not above pre-Great Recession funding for higher education

Many states across the country cut funding for public higher education during the Great Recession. A new report shows the money hasn’t been replaced in most states – including in Michigan.

A new Center on Budget and Policy Priorities report looks at how states have slashed funding for public universities over the last decade. Michigan ranks in the middle. However, experts say that doesn’t paint the whole picture.

Peter Ruark (REW-ark) is the Senior Policy Analyst for the Michigan League for Public Policy. He said because Michigan went through its own “mini-recession” before 2008, the state has been cutting higher education funding a lot longer than other states.

“We have the dubious distinction of kind of leading the way in cutting state funding for public universities and having students and their families make up the costs through higher tuition and fees,” he said.

The fiscal year 2018 state budget will spend two-percent more on public universities. However, several universities are still below their 2010 to 2011 state funding levels.

 Daniel Hurley is the CEO of Michigan Association of State Universities. He said state financing has improved over the last couple years, but not enough.

“These are the good times in terms of revenue, forecast growth and low unemployment,” he said. “What happens when there is a return to another recession?”