Kaler calls on Legislature to invest in U of M's shared prosperity with MN
Today, President Eric Kaler released the following statement on the current proposed level of state funding for the University of Minnesota:
“Our Land-Grant status binds us to this State. From our graduates, to our research, to our public service, the University of Minnesota is integrally woven into our shared prosperity.
That is exactly why the Legislature's decision to minimize our requested funding is so disappointing. We have worked diligently to create a University that is efficient, is focused on the future, and that provides a world-class education to our citizens at a competitive price. We strongly share the Legislature's desire to ensure that higher education is affordable for all Minnesotans. Unfortunately, the proposed funding level by the Minnesota Legislature will certainly necessitate cutbacks in programs across the University – programs that serve Minnesotans.
Each day University researchers are working on solutions that range from benefiting Minnesota agricultural producers; to research that improves human and animal health; to research that makes our lakes and rivers cleaner; to research that strengthens our K-12 system.
We will not be able to sustain the totality of our efforts at the proposed funding levels. Moreover, for our core educational mission, lack of funding could lead to recommended tuition increases that may be as high as 5%, including increases for all students on all campuses.
Over the last four years we have limited tuition increases for resident undergraduate students to an average annual increase of 1% on the Twin Cities campus and 0.4% on the System campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester. This was in direct response to the concerns of the Legislature and was due in no small part to the Legislature’s financial support.
This year's proposed funding is dramatically lower than our request and as a result, will limit our effectiveness in building on our shared economic success for all Minnesotans. We are committed to a cost effective education and to a lean and administratively efficient University, but we cannot complete our mission without the financial support of the State.
As the Conference Committees begin their work we call upon the Legislature to approach Higher Education funding as the investment that it is. Each State tax dollar invested in the University of Minnesota generates current and future prosperity for this great State. We accept the challenge of meeting the needs of all Minnesotans, but we must have the partnership of the State of Minnesota."