U of M President Kaler and other leaders present priorities to Legislature

March 1, 2017
The top of the Minnesota capitol building

This week, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and other University leaders and stakeholders presented the University’s 2018-2019 biennial budget request to members of the State Legislature and emphasized the University’s role in advancing the economic and social vitality of Minnesota.

Below is a statement from President Kaler:

“I thank the members of the both the Minnesota Senate Higher Education Finance and Policy committee and the Minnesota House Higher Education and Career Readiness Policy and Finance committee for the opportunity to discuss the University of Minnesota’s legislative priorities. I am grateful to committee chairs Senator Fischbach and Representative Nornes for their continued leadership and support of higher education in Minnesota. As they know, and as I was able to reiterate this week, a strong University makes for a strong Minnesota.

“The University’s biennial budget request directly aligns with the needs of our students, families, faculty and researchers. But even more importantly, the University’s funding request guides the direction and upward trajectory our state. We are fueling Minnesota’s future — preparing the next generation of leaders for the state, discovering the next breakthroughs for Minnesotans and tackling Minnesota’s grand challenges. State investment in the U of M advances these initiatives.

“I look forward to continuing our partnership with the Legislature this session to keep the University of Minnesota great and the State of Minnesota strong.”

The University’s legislative request promotes three key initiatives to benefit all five campuses in the U of M system: student success, translating research for the state’s common good and affordability for Minnesota’s students and families.

In total, the University’s request includes $147.2 million in funding to support six priority projects:

  • Core mission support: The U of M will retain faculty and staff, maintain key programs, ensure campuses’ safe and reliable infrastructure and minimize tuition costs for Minnesota resident students by addressing inflationary costs of critical research, education and outreach activities via state investment and internal adjustments.
  •  Investing in student success: The U of M seeks to advance the long-term success of Minnesota’s students by improving retention and graduation rates and by making college more affordable throughout the U of M system. The initiative focuses on three critical pieces: Creating a new Student Success Center for undergraduate students across the University system, which will expand tutoring, writing, research, and career planning support; enhancing equity through pipeline programming like CORE 2025, an early outreach, high-touch cohort program with a goal to increase the number of academically prepared, college-ready, Minnesota students from historically underrepresented backgrounds; and expanding Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) education to meet student demand and workforce needs.
  • Expand MnDRIVE: The University proposes to build upon the success of the state’s 2013 MnDRIVE (Minnesota’s Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy) investment and expand the partnership to include additional initiatives to solve Minnesota’s challenges in the areas of fighting cancer, strengthening communities, improving water quality and advancing data to drive the economy.
  • Advance NRRI applied research: With legislative funding, the University will strengthen the applied research activities at the Natural Resources Research Institute (NRRI), housed at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus. Funding will support research critical to the state: minerals, mining and water; energy and the environment; forest products and bioeconomy. Since its founding in 1983, the NRRI has received no increase in its base funding.

The following two initiatives are related to prior legislative session activities:

  • Restore health training and services: The University aims to restore funding for two initiatives formerly funded by UCare: Family Medicine and Community Health residencies, which train future family physicians for underserved communities and the Mobile Dental Clinic, which provides preventive and primary dental care statewide.
  • Support the Bell Museum’s expanded programming: In order to fulfill of mission of the state’s natural history museum, the University requests funding to support the expanded operations, programming and outreach of the Bell Museum.

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