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University of Minnesota sees reduction in size of budget cuts

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A higher education bill allocating $545.3 million to the University of Minnesota in each of the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years is expected to be voted on by Minnesota’s House and Senate during today’s special session.

“The higher education bill has restored some funding to the University of Minnesota, which has seen repeated cuts to our budget in recent years,” says university President Eric Kaler. “I am grateful for Governor Dayton’s leadership in supporting the university and legislative leadership’s willingness to reduce the proposed cuts. This helps protect our critical mission of groundbreaking research as Minnesota’s only public land-grant university,” Kaler says.

While this allocation is about $50 million more over the biennium than was in the higher education bill vetoed by the governor earlier this year, it still represents a significant cut to the university’s state appropriation. The state is now providing just 18 percent of funding for the university.

“State support for the University of Minnesota has now dipped back to 1998 levels, despite the fact that we train Minnesota’s best and brightest future employees, that we are the driver of the state’s robust agriculture business, that we are the engine for job creation statewide, that we are the foundation for the vitality of the state’s arts, culture and Minnesota’s quality of life,” Kaler says.

Performance provisions have been included in the bill, which will hold back one percent of the university's appropriation for 2013 until three of five measures are met and certified by the Board of Regents and the commissioner of management and budget.

“I have every expectation that we will meet these performance measures as they reflect some of my major goals, such as ensuring access to the university by increasing financial aid; a focus on excellence with improved graduation rates; and increasing support from private donors.”

The final bill must still be passed by the House and Senate and signed by Gov. Dayton, but Kaler is hopeful that the bill will be enacted soon.

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