U of M balances cost-cutting with state support to enhance access, safety, teaching and research
With an emphasis on increasing student access, affordability and safety while maintaining the University of Minnesota’s world-class teaching and research, the Board of Regents today unanimously approved U of M President Joan Gabel’s recommended biennial legislative budget request. The approval follows discussion of the proposal last month.
Student access and affordability
The request includes the proposed Minnesota Resident Scholarship, a systemwide scholarship program aiming to attract Minnesota high school students to all five of the University’s campuses and retain those students through graduation.
The Minnesota Resident Scholarship will help keep Minnesota students in the state. Legislative investment in this program would expand scholarship support for Minnesota families, targeting students who tend to graduate with the highest levels of debt.
Public safety enhancements
This $5 million request supplements previous University investments, as well as investments that will be made through the University's upcoming budgeting process, and will provide longer-term infrastructure and support for the University systemwide. More information about the University’s layered approach to public safety and current initiatives is available on the Safe Campus website.
The $5 million request for ongoing funding would be dedicated to:
- Systemwide replacements of outdated cameras, security equipment and building access technology, as well as ongoing maintenance, accounting for more than half of the requested funding,
- Enhancing lighting and camera capabilities,
- Doubling the number of Twin Cities campus security officers for more patrols and building security checks,
- Expanding weekly overtime patrols for UMPD to increase visibility and reduce call response times,
- Adding a second K-9 unit to UMPD for special events and campus safety.
Addressing costs for growing needs of students, faculty and staff
The request also addresses the financial challenges faced by the University, one of the state’s largest employers and service providers. Growing student support services needs (e.g., mental and physical health, career development), increasing research and teaching infrastructure needs, ongoing recruitment and retention of high-quality faculty and staff, as well as inflationary pressures make state investment critically important to the University’s ability to deliver on its teaching, discovery and outreach mission.
Balancing cost-saving with state partnership
The request fully embraces cost-saving measures and a focus on strategic enrollment goals as necessary steps toward “self-funding” half of the needed investment in the University’s core mission. In a year with record state revenues, the University is seeking a state partnership for annual incremental investments that would increase the University’s annual revenue by about one percent, adding roughly $45 million in new funding in each of the two years of the upcoming biennium.
“Our proposal is rooted in carefully stewarding our own finances as well as a historic partnership with the state to the great benefit of all Minnesotans,” Gabel said. “For more than 170 years, the University has delivered life-saving discoveries, patents and start-ups that attract a thriving and diverse business community, and a workforce that is unrivaled. A renewed state partnership with the University of Minnesota will position the University to deliver world-class impact on that investment to every corner of our state.”
The Board also:
- Welcomed new Vice President for Research Shashank Priya, who’s appointment began on Sept. 30.
- Approved Gabel’s recommended six-year capital plan.
- Discussed progress toward MPact 2025 enrollment goals with U of M Morris leaders, the second in a series of discussions with the University’s five campuses.
- Received an update on trends, opportunities and challenges in graduate education in a presentation from Scott Lanyon, dean of graduate education.
- Reviewed proposed amendments to Board of Regents Policy: Commercialization of Intellectual Property Rights with Priya and Rick Huebsch, executive director of the U of M Technology Commercialization team.
- Discussed strategic planning to achieve the University’s equity, diversity and inclusion goals with Vice President for Equity and Diversity Mercedes Ramírez Fernández.
- Continued conversations about the Board’s public engagement approach, particularly how community input is invited and collected and how information is publicly shared.
The Board of Regents is scheduled to meet next on Dec. 15-16, 2022. Visit regents.umn.edu for more information.