The Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) is proposing a $207 million increase in next year's budget to fund the state's two- and four-year institutions, bringing the total funding to $2.36 billion.

The proposed hike for fiscal year 2023-2024 would constitute an 11% increase from the previous fiscal year's appropriations.

The proposed budget must be presented to the Alabama legislature for approval in the 2023 session.

ACHE said the increased funds would be applied to personnel and salary needs, increased mandatory costs related to retirement and insurance, rising inflationary costs associated with utilities and construction, and deferred maintenance and building renovation.

ACHE requested $6 million from the legislature to support the (Re)Engage Alabama campaign, which targets adults who halted college studies before completing their degree. Some $4.5 million of the requested funds would be used for financial aid for adults completing a degree in fields in high demand in the state.  

When ACHE's budget recommendation is presented to lawmakers, there will be a $5 million additional request for deferred maintenance projects at colleges and universities.

"Institutions told us they completed the study phase of construction, and several months later, when work began, the quote had increased by several million dollars," said ACHE Finance Committee Chairman Stan Nelson.

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