January 30, 2001 - Governor's budget would damage Minnesota State Colleges and Universities
Contact: Melinda Voss, (651) 296-9443, firstname.lastname@example.org
Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Morris J. Anderson said today that Gov. Jesse Ventura's budget proposal would seriously damage the state's ability to offer access to affordable, high-quality education.
The 35-institution system is seeking an increase of $255.6 million over the next two years to cover inflation and make essential improvements in academic programs, technology and workforce development.
"The governor's proposed $47 million increase falls drastically short of meeting our needs, and we cannot avoid serious damage if it is adopted," Anderson said today. Anderson and other MnSCU leaders held a press conference in St. Paul and plan to fly to eight other cities in Minnesota to talk about the budget.
Anderson said the impact of the governor's proposal could be greater in rural Minnesota, where campuses are smaller. Access to educational opportunities in the rural areas would likely suffer, he said.
"We have spent the past week examining potential ways to bridge this gap, and we can find no solution that would not erode our educational quality, affordability and access," Anderson said.
Minnesotans can expect to see a 22 percent tuition increase over the next two years or severely reduced programs and services to students if the governor's recommendation is adopted, the chancellor said.
Other long-range options under consideration include:
- Program closures and reductions
- Enrollment caps
- Hiring freezes
- Freeze on new construction projects
- Faculty and staff layoffs
Anderson pointed out that Ventura's proposal, released last week, covers less than one-third of MnSCU's projected $153.3 million in inflation costs over the two years.
"That gap alone is enormous," the chancellor said. "Furthermore, the governor's recommendation would provide no funding for important new initiatives the campus presidents and our system have proposed.
"This is truly disappointing and could cause significant setbacks in our efforts to make Minnesota's higher education and its economy more competitive," he said
Anderson said MnSCU included 3 percent tuition increase each year and $30 million in internal reallocations in its $255.6 million two-year budget request.
The chancellor and MnSCU leaders launched a two-day flyaround after the Capitol news conference. They plan to discuss the budget proposals at news conferences on eight system campuses throughout the state and in St. Paul.
News conferences today are scheduled at Lake Superior College in Duluth, St. Cloud State University, Minnesota State University Moorhead and Bemidji State University.
On Wednesday, MnSCU plans news conferences at Southwest State University in Marshall, South Central College in Mankato, Winona State University and Rochester Community and Technical College.