Gov. Deval L. Patrick this week proposed a $39 million increase for the University of Massachusetts system as part of his $34.8 billion fiscal 2014 state budget bill.
His proposal adds $14 million for the annualized cost of collective bargaining agreements and $25 million in new funds. The governor’s plan also folds $25.69 million allocated in this year’s budget for the first year of collective bargaining costs into the main appropriation for FY14.
Together, his plan reflects a 7.8 percent increase over the current system funding of $443.8 million that includes the funding for collective bargaining agreements.
Patrick’s budget measure moves closer to President Robert Caret’s proposal for the state to bear half of educational costs with students and their families. Caret has been calling for a return to a 50-50 split in operating costs, an equilibrium last seen in 2008, when state funding paid for 57 percent of the University’s educational programs.
Patrick’s budget proposal would also increase the state scholarship program from $87.6 million to $199.6 million, a jump of 128 percent.
The plan also sets aside $7.5 million for a performance management incentive program for the state’s 29 public campuses to pursue operational efficiency and goals outlined in the state’s Vision Project for higher education. Another $3 million is aimed at providing financial aid to low-income students in the public higher education system as an incentive to complete their degree or certificate programs in a timely way.
An outside section of the budget plan calls for creating a special commission on higher education efficiencies and finance. The commission would be expected to report its findings to the Legislature by Sept. 1, 2014.
The budget process shifts next to the Legislature, where the House and Senate will develop their own state spending plans before a final compromise version is approved and sent to the governor, who can sign, veto or refer sections of the bill back to lawmakers for changes.