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Sunday, March 3, 2024

Lawmakers give $5 million to Martin University in state budget

Gov. Eric Holcomb originally proposed $10 million last year. The House endorsed the governor’s proposal but the Senate instead wanted to spread out the money to other colleges and universities for minority students.

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Legislators unveiled their state budget (House Bill 1001) with a compromise decision to give Martin University $5 million.

Gov. Eric Holcomb originally proposed $10 million last year. The House endorsed the governor’s proposal but the Senate wanted to spread the money to other schools for minority students.

The budget allocates $5 million to Martin University and the other $5 million to the Senate’s proposal for other schools.

Members from the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus pushed for Martin to receive funding. Lawmakers announced they would give $5 million the school while the other half will go to schools across the state.

RELATED: Indiana Legislators debate $10 million proposal for Martin University

Democratic Representative Greg Porter said it was a good compromise.

“Half a cup is better than none. $5 million will help them in regard to their programming and where they’re going as the state’s longest serving minority institution while opening it up to other institutions. It’s power to both,” said Porter.

University President responds

Martin University President Dr. Sean Huddleston said that he is thankful for the advocacy and hard work of the governor and his cabinet members including Karrah Herring, the Chief Equity, Inclusion and Opportunity Officer.

He also thanked Indiana State of Higher Education Commissioner Chris Lowery, and the entire legislative caucus who pushed for funding at every opportunity.

“We’re ecstatic. It certainly isn’t what we were originally hoping for, but we’re grateful for the opportunity to expand our infrastructure and capacity for the workforce,” said Dr. Huddleston.

He said the funding provides the university with the foundation to implement the plans Gov. Holcomb originally designed it for.

The university will use the funds to build capacity, technology, learning spaces, build out their structural capabilities, create stronger partnerships with corporations for apprenticeship opportunities for their students and create smaller retention grants to reward students for continuing their education. 

The $5 million will be used for three primary areas of the workforce: teachers, law enforcement professionals and STEM professions.

Dr. Huddleston said these particular careers have low levels of diversity, but they’re in high demand for the state.

Martin University graduates contribute to addressing Indiana’s brain drain problem by choosing to stay in Indiana, rather than pursuing higher education and career opportunities elsewhere.

The proposal will grant the university $2.5 million a year over the course of two years.

Dr. Huddleston said that after the state budget is finalized, the university will begin implementing their plans for the money.

Lawmakers have until the end of the month to finalize the state budget.

You can view the budget HERE.

Contact staff writer Jade Jackson at 317-607-5792 or by email JadeJ@IndyRecorder.com. Follow her on Twitter @IAMJADEJACKSON

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