Public Colleges Seek Increased State Funding in 2022



With state coffers enjoying record surpluses and tax revenues exceeding budget estimates, 2022 is shaping up to be a year in which higher education leaders will bid for large increases in funding for the state. ‘State for public institutions and state financial aid programs.

This is a big turnaround from the past two years, when many institutions have faced shrinking budgets, campus cutbacks, and limited funding.

State-level tax news has not been so good for some time. General fund spending is expected to increase 9.3 percent by the end of fiscal 2022. The majority of states report tax revenues are ahead of forecast. Funds for rainy days have reached record levels. And the consensus of experts is that the economy will continue its healthy expansion for at least the next two years.

Not only has state revenues recovered from the pandemic faster than most experts predicted, but this rebound has been coupled with billions of dollars provided through several relief fund spurts. emergency for higher education. An expected collapse has turned into a realized windfall, and higher education wants to profit from it.

University presidents are licking their chops. Seeing a state budget surplus of $ 7.7 billion, the University of Minnesota is asking for nearly $ 1 billion in new funding. Its request includes $ 473 million to upgrade infrastructure at five campuses, $ 185 million to improve campus safety and sustainability, and $ 65 million to expand scholarship funding.

In Alabama, the State Higher Education Commission requested $ 2 billion for the state’s public colleges and universities in fiscal year 2022-2023, an increase of 17 , 5% compared to the budget for the current year.

Higher education officials in several other states have also submitted requests for significant increases in funding for the coming year.

In Georgia, for example, the University System of Georgia Board of Regents has already approved a request for $ 2.57 billion for fiscal year 2023, which is an increase of $ 108.1 million from its current budget. . The increases include $ 99.4 million to cover growth in student enrollments and approximately $ 9 million for employee and retiree health insurance plans.

The Kentucky Council on Post-Secondary Education has submitted its 2022-2024 biennial budget request for public colleges and universities in that state. It proposes a 10% increase in operating funds linked to performance financing and pension relief for six institutions. He is also asking for a down payment of $ 700 million for the maintenance and repair of state-owned campus buildings.

In addition, the Council is seeking a special credit of $ 23 million to help bail out Kentucky State University, Kentucky’s only HBCU, from its budget problems. Add $ 60 million for research at public universities and $ 6.7 million for a workforce initiative at the Kentucky Community and Technical College System, and the demand, if funded, would be a banner year for Kentucky public universities.

Mississippi public institutions have requested a raise of $ 35.7 million for fiscal year 2023, which would provide new funding for a salary increase for faculty. The state is also considering a request for an additional $ 5.3 million to be allocated to various student financial aid programs and $ 75 million in one-time funds to support repairs and renovations to facilities.

Iowa, Missouri, Colorado, and North Carolina are other states where public universities have officially requested a credit increase or new increases have already been approved.

While not all states are looking to increase spending on higher education – Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has proposed a $ 100 million reduction in state university funding from the current level, although the state has $ 15 billion in reserves – expect most public institutions to see 2022 as a golden opportunity to catch up on the sluggish budgets of recent years.

In the coming months, the governors of 33 states will propose their budgets for the 2022-2023 fiscal year. And in many of the 17 states that have already adopted a biennial budget for fiscal years 2022 and 2023; the governors will propose a revised or additional budget.

While it is still too early to judge the final outcome of higher education in the next budget cycle, early comments from policymakers in several states suggest they are receptive to requests for increases. According to Thomas L. Harnisch, vice president of government relations with the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, even with the fiscal uncertainties of the pandemic and the competition for resources for priorities such as salary increases for state employees , states recognize that they have “an important opportunity to make strategic investments in higher education to develop and diversify state economies. “

Look for interesting negotiations in the coming months, with some governors recommending significant increases in support for higher education and others offering to provide more funds in return for a tuition freeze or cap.


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