Governor Baker Signs Final FY23 Budget
The Conference Committee released its FY23 budget for the Department of Higher Education (DHE) as well as the base appropriations for the Community Colleges and the State Universities on Sunday, July 17, 2022. The Governor signed the bill with vetoes, which did not effect DHE appropriations, on July 27th. The DHE, community colleges, and state universities portion of the budget totals for FY23 are $937.7M, which is a $119.3M (15.2%) increase from FY22 GAA.
Similar to the FY23 BHE and Governor’s budget recommendations, the Conference Committee budget included funding for an additional increase in aid to students through the DHE’s scholarship programs. Other significant investments were made in the Higher Education Endowment Incentive Program as well as the Department’s Early College Programs through its Commonwealth Dual Enrollment and MA State Scholarship line item.
Regarding the Department’s appropriations
Overall, the Conference Committee budget for the DHE’s accounts total $257.9M, an $81.2M (45.9%) increase over the FY22 GAA.
- The Massachusetts State Scholarship account received a net increase of $44.7M from GAA. This is comprised of an increase of $35.7M in funding for MassGrants, $1.4M increase to the Early Childhood Educators Scholarship, as well as maintenance increases for payroll and other administrative items.
- The budget funds the FY23 Foster and Adopted Fee Assistance account at $7.3M, which is level with FY22 GAA and the budget recommendations from both the Governor and the Board. This reflects the ongoing commitment to ensure the Commonwealth is meeting its statutory obligation to this vulnerable population. Similarly, the Foster Child Grant program was also level funded.
Student Success Initiatives
- The Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program received a $3M increase, 50.0% over GAA, this increase is intended to expand the Department’s early college pathways programs. This increase would bring total funding for Early College from this line item to $9M annually, which is a 350% increase over the FY20 GAA funding.
- The budget increased the funding for the SUCCESS line item by $3.5M (33.3%) over FY22 GAA.
- While the funding in the Main Administration account appears to have increased by $6.8M, this is mainly the effect of the addition of numerous earmarks such as JET, TRAIN, and student support program at Quincy College. The funding for the Department’s on-going operations received maintenance increases.
- Outside Section 9 officially authorizes the Board of Higher Education to administer 403(b) retirement plans. DHE has been advocating for this change for many years.
- The GAA also reestablished the Higher Education Endowment Incentive Program and funded it at $20M.
- Conference Committee also established Mental Health Services Program and funded it at $4.3M.
- Conference Committee increased the MAICEI line item by $4M when comparing to FY22 GAA.
- Conference Committee also recommended an increase to the State Universities and Community College Funding Formulas to 3% of state funding.
- Conference Committee level funded PIF. Conference Committee kept all prior appropriation continued and “summer months” spending language for all accounts that had it in FY22 GAA.
- Level funding was recommended for NEBHE, STEM Starter, the Colleges Health & Welfare Fund, PACE, PIF, Community College Workforce Grants, and Bridges to College (eliminated $50k earmark).
The final budget, also known as the General Appropriations Act (GAA), went into effect on July 1, 2022 when the 2023 Fiscal Year began. The FY23 budget process for the Department of Higher Education, community colleges, state universities, and UMass system will resume again in December 2022, when the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education issues its funding recommendations to the Executive Office of Education.