President Kaler: Proposed funding level lessens our contribution to State
Today, the Higher Education Conference Committee of the Minnesota Legislature proposed $18.674 million in new state funding in FY18-19 for the University of Minnesota. U of M President Eric Kaler responded:
"Despite the conference committee's investment in the University—focused on our work to advance the health of Minnesotans and research in natural resources—their proposed level of funding is less than 13% of the University's request. This decision jeopardizes the University's impact across Minnesota and is disappointing not for the University, but for the entire state.
"We appreciate the committee's commitment to and appropriation of funding for improving statewide access to cancer clinical trials, investing in the overall health of Minnesotans through the Mobile Dental Clinic and our Family Medicine Residency Programs, as well as funding our applied research initiatives at the Natural Resources Research Institute in Duluth. However, the Board of Regents of the University had approved a funding request for $147.2 million that encompasses not only our operating expense increases, but specific funding for vital research, education, and outreach initiatives that are either significantly underfunded in this agreement, or not included at all.
"Our history and our heritage as an institution bind us to the economic success of Minnesota. Our graduates are Minnesota's business people, doctors, leaders, and teachers. Our scientists are Minnesota's researchers who work every day to solve the great challenges of our state. We know that our contribution to Minnesota's economy is not in our name—it is in the students we graduate, the work we do in our labs, and in the focus of our faculty and staff to the success of this state. This level of funding will not allow us to achieve that success. This level of funding means students will pay more, research initiatives will be compromised, and our contribution to Minnesota will be lessened."