Tonya Schuitmaker

President Pro Tempore and Chair of Higher Education Appropriations Subcommittee
Michigan Legislature
(517) 373-0793
405 Farnum Bldg, PO Box 30036
Appointment Term: 
Jan 1, 2017 to Dec 31, 2018

Tonya Schuitmaker is serving her second term in the Michigan Senate, following three terms in the House of Representatives. Tonya has held leadership positions throughout her tenure in the legislature. She was appointed by her Republican colleagues to serve as assistant minority floor leader in the House and is the current President Pro Tempore of the Senateonly the second woman to hold this office in the states history. She serves as chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Higher Education, vice chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, a member of the Energy and Technology Committee and vice chair of the Senate Appropriations subcommittees on Capital Outlay, Community Colleges and Judiciary. As a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Tonya is responsible for providing funding to Michigans most vital programs while ensuring that taxpayers money is spent responsibly.As chair of the Higher Education Subcommittee, Tonya developed an innovative funding model in the 2012-2013 higher education budget aimed at spending taxpayer resources wisely, while encouraging universities to continue striving for excellence and efficiency. In addition to current funding levels, universities will be receiving increased funding based on specific performance measures designed to encourage success in all 15 of the diverse Michigan public universities. Those measures include tuition restraint as well as university rankings based on the Carnegie Classification System. Senator Schuitmaker has developed 10 goals and objectives that she uses as her guiding principles for higher education policy:1. Increase total amount of baccalaureate degrees granted within the state of Michigan.2. Increase funding for Michigans universities to a level comparable to the Top Ten states if they meet or exceed top 20 percent of their Carnegie classification.3. Develop a series of best practices to ensure taxpayers are receiving the best value for the dollars they invest in higher education.4. Reduce the significant gap in per Fiscal Year Equivalent Student (FYES) funding between universities. The current disparity in per FYES funding provides a disincentive for increased enrollment growth.5. Bring transparency to higher education operations across our 15 public universities similar to what is required of our K-12 public schools and have it displayed on home pages.6. Improve upon a quantitative economic development plan.7. Demonstrate a clear financial aid program that reduces the burden of the costs of higher education with an emphasis on low to middle income students.8. Expand and develop partnerships with other universities, community colleges and high schools.9. Demonstrate a commitment to integrating technology into curriculum.10. Increase accessibility and affordability to all students.Raised on a family farm in Antwerp Township, Tonya has been a lifelong resident of southwest Michigan. She is married to Steve and together they are raising their two children, Jordan and Savina. She graduated from Mattawan Consolidated High School and holds a B.A. in business from Michigan State University and a JD, graduating cum laude, from the Detroit College of Law.