U of M considers new student mental health investments

June 4, 2016
Students on the mall

What: University of Minnesota Board of Regents meeting
When: Thursday, June 9 and Friday, June 10, 2016
Where: Sixth floor, McNamara Alumni Center, 200 Oak St. S.E., Minneapolis

More than 30 percent of students on each University of Minnesota campus report a mental health diagnosis in their lifetime — with anxiety and depression being most common — and an inability to manage stress. These issues are barriers to success in and out of the classroom. As a result, student mental health is a top public health issue for the U of M system.

The University is working to address the demand for services, and the Board of Regents will continue the discussion at its meeting next week, June 9-10. A $97,000 increase in funding (via the student service fee) proposed in President Eric Kaler’s FY17 operating budget will support two new full-time counselors at Boynton Health on the Twin Cities campus. This investment builds on nearly $130,000 in new support for mental health services the University allocated last year.

While the University has one of the most comprehensive public-health approaches to mental health among its peers, these efforts remain insufficient to fully address the need for clinical care. On the Twin Cities campus, for example, clinical care demand exceeds the capacity of on-campus mental health providers.

In response, U of M campuses have added counseling services, support groups, peer-led resources, health and wellness advocates, student health case managers, and disability resource coordinators who are working in a coordinated care model to support student health and success. Mind-body classes, therapy animals and use of the arts to raise awareness about mental health, reduce stigma and promote open discussion are also part of the comprehensive approach.

The Board’s discussion will review the currently available services and potential barriers to students receiving them across the U of M system. It will build on previous Board discussions including last month’s report of the student representatives to the Board of Regents, as well as a number of comments provided by University students on the topic during a May public forum about the proposed budget.

Advancing the U’s mission
The Board is expected to act on President Kaler’s entire FY17 budget proposal at its Friday meeting.

If approved as proposed, roughly 20,000 resident undergraduate students will see no tuition increase in FY17, including all resident undergraduates attending the U’s Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester campuses. On the Twin Cities campus, a 2.5 percent tuition increase for resident undergraduates is proposed. However, for those with family incomes up to $120,000 — approximately 10,000 students — enhanced financial aid is recommended to completely offset the increase.

Increases for non-resident, non-reciprocity undergraduate students on the Twin Cities (7.5 percent, or $1,550) and Morris (16.8 percent, or $2,000) campuses are proposed, with continuing students receiving waivers to mitigate the increases. At UMD, the recommended non-resident, non-reciprocity rate is proposed to increase by 2.5 percent, or $396.

Also, Kaler’s budget reallocates $15 million in administrative costs toward mission-focused activities and the budget makes available a 2.5 percent merit- and market-based, compensation increase for faculty and staff. For more details, read this press release or review the docket materials.

The proposed FY17 capital budget, which aims to repair and enhance facilities across the U’s 29 million square feet, has been revised based on the Legislature adjourning without passing a capital investment bonding bill. Board action is expected on the revised $80.3 million plan.

Long-term planning implications of the recommended budget will be discussed by the Finance Committee, part of the Board’s commitment to being a responsible steward of University resources.

The Board will also:
Consider revisions to the Student Conduct Code. Following conversations at last month’s meeting, the Board is expected to act on proposed changes to the code in areas including medical amnesty, sexual misconduct and due process protections.
Discuss implementation of Driving Tomorrow, the UMTC Strategic Plan. This work session will focus on initiatives to drive transformational change across the campus and carry out the plan’s goals, approved by the Board in 2015.
Examine its appointment authority, through consideration of a policy amendment proposed by President Kaler.
Review the 2016-17 internal audit plan. Gail Klatt, associate vice president for internal audit, willdiscuss plans for conducting audits in various University units in the coming year.
Receive an update on the Crookston campus’ strategic plan. Chancellor Fred Wood will outline key accomplishments associated with the UMC strategic plan and areas of alignment with the Twin Cities campus strategic plan. This is the third in a series of presentations from system campus leaders.

A non-public meeting of the Litigation Review Committee begins at 7:45 a.m. Thursday, June 9, followed by additional committee meetings the remainder of the day. On Friday, June 10, the full Board meeting begins at 8:45 a.m.

For more information, including meeting times and locations, go to the Regents website.

Media Contacts

Steve Henneberry
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News Service
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612-624-1690
Email: 
henneberry@umn.edu
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