MnSCU board seeks $71.7 million increase over the next two years

Posted: November 19, 2008

Contact: Doug Anderson, doug.anderson@so.mnscu.edu, 651-201-1426

Original proposal reduced by $55 million in light of severe economic downturn

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees today approved a legislative budget request that seeks a $71.7 million increase for the 2010-2011 biennium - the lowest biennial request in the system’s 13-year history.

"This request recognizes that the state faces a daunting economic downturn," said David Olson, who chairs the Board of Trustees.

"We want the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system to be part of the solution."

In September, the board began considering a request to the Minnesota Legislature that would have increased the system's state appropriation by $126.7 million, an amount that included initiatives to help lower tuition for part-time students and expand capacity for bachelor's degrees in the metropolitan area, among other things.

"National and state economic conditions have grown dramatically worse since we first started planning this budget request," said Chancellor James H. McCormick. "Given current circumstances, the board has acted thoughtfully in scaling back the request. But even if the Legislature appropriates the full $71.7 million, the presidents of our colleges and universities will face extremely tough decisions in managing their resources. This is a bare-bones budget.

"Even with these conditions, our colleges and universities will continue to provide high-quality programs and services," McCormick said. "And these tough times make it more important than ever that our colleges and universities support the state's economy by making sure we have a well-qualified work force."

The request approved by the board assumes tuition increases of 3 percent a year at the state universities and 2 percent a year at the state colleges if it were fully funded. But Trustee Thomas Renier, who chairs the board's Finance and Facilities Committee, said, "We know this is a tough time to be raising costs to the students. But with the current uncertainty of the state budget, it would be unwise to lock us into a certain tuition increase until after the Legislature acts."