Bay Mills Loses State Support

May 15th, 1996 | By | Category: 8-1: Governance, Tribal College News

For more than 15 years, the state of Michigan has paid tuition for Indian students at colleges throughout the state as an incentive for higher education. After Bay Mills Community College was created, it was included in the incentive program. Unlike the handful of tribal colleges in other states that receive state funds for non-Indian students, Bay Mills received state funds for Indian students’ tuition.

When a new governor, John Engler, came into office, he vetoed that line item funding the program, saying he didn’t approve of it. As a result, the state of Michigan owes Bay Mills half a million dollars for academic years 1994-95, 1995-96, according to Bay Mills President Martha McLeod. The loss to other universities in the state was much larger, she says.

The state legislature will restore the incentives for the other state colleges and universities through their base funding, which cannot be line item vetoed, according to McLeod. Through an arrangement with Northern Michigan University, Bay Mills expects to get only a portion of its previous tuition support. While enrollment was growing before the tuition support was withdrawn, McLeod expects it to drop now because some students will not be able to afford to attend.

“It has been a struggle trying to make ends meet, but we’re used to running without enough money so we are very creative,” McLeod says. The college has convinced hospitals and the ambulance corps to donate equipment for the Licensed Practical Nurse program, book companies to donate references, and individuals to donate old computers for a computer maintenance and repair program.


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