Posted: October 20, 2004
Contact: Doug Anderson, firstname.lastname@example.org, 651-201-1426
Request includes initiatives in nursing, teacher education, agriculture, online education
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees today approved a legislative budget request that seeks a $66.5 million increase for the 2006-2007 biennium, the smallest requested increase in the system's history.
"This request takes a balanced approach to financing public higher education," said James H. McCormick, chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. "We are asking the Legislature and the people of Minnesota to invest in students, we are asking our students to continue to invest in their own education, and we are reallocating $60 million in existing resources."
The request assumes tuition will rise 4 percent per year over the next two years, which would be the smallest tuition increase since 1999.
Members of two student groups - the Minnesota State College Student Association, representing students at community and technical colleges, and the Minnesota State University Student Association, representing state university students - had urged the board to freeze tuition at current levels. The students asked the board to request an additional $62.9 million from the Legislature to replace the tuition revenue.
The board voted 7 to 4 to support the proposed $66.5 million increase, including the assumed 4 percent per year tuition increase. An attempt to make a tuition freeze part of the proposed request failed on a 5 to 7 vote.
"This is a very conservative budget request," said Robert Hoffman, chair of the board, who praised the students for their work on the budget.
"We had a very healthy discussion and at the end of the day, though we couldn't agree to freeze tuition, we share their goals of providing a quality education and providing it at an affordable price," Hoffman said.
The proposed $66.5 million increase, which amounts to a 5.4 percent increase over the two-year period, would be used to increase educational programs that meet critical state needs in nursing, teacher education, agriculture and small business management. The additional funding also would be used to expand online courses and services, increase outreach and better serve students in groups traditionally under-served by higher education, create an innovations fund to meet the needs of Minnesota employers and provide for competitive faculty salaries in high-demand fields.
A 4 percent tuition increase would amount to about $143 a year for a student attending a community or technical college and about $186 for a student attending a state university. In each of the past four years, tuition has increased by 10 percent or more.
The overall request also includes a base budget adjustment of $130 million for past enrollment growth, which is provided under state law.
Degrees of Success: Making Minnesota Work
2006-2007 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities budget request
(500 KB PDF)
Minnesota's 31 state community and technical colleges, and universities serve more than 430,000 students across the state.