U of M President reacts to governor signing higher education funding bill

Today, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton signed the higher education funding bill, passed earlier this week by the Minnesota Legislature. On a biennial basis, the bill provides $30 million in new funding to the University of Minnesota Medical School, $22.2 million for operating costs to enable tuition relief and $1 million for Alzheimer's disease research. Additionally, a refinancing of bonds for TCF Bank Stadium will provide $10 million to begin planning for a new health sciences building.

In response, U of M President Eric W. Kaler issued the following statement:

“I would like to thank our legislators and the Governor for the additional investments in the University of Minnesota and, ultimately, the long-term health and well-being of our state.

The $15 million annual investment in the University’s Medical School is one I am particularly grateful for. These funds will strengthen the U’s research to address the state’s most pressing health care needs. It will also enable us to recruit more world-class physician-scientists who will join medical discovery teams and help further raise the Medical School’s national ranking and reputation.

While I appreciate the funds allocated for operating support, it falls short of what is needed to hold tuition increases to zero for Minnesota resident students system wide for another two years. This will impact approximately 53,000 students and families. About 70 percent of our undergraduates systemwide are Minnesota residents, and they and their families deserve more consideration at a time of significant state budget surplus. We have done our part to lessen the need for increased tuition revenue by reducing administrative costs by $39 million this biennium, with a plan to reduce an additional $30 million next biennium.

Minnesotans have high expectations of their U of M and we deliver on our comprehensive mission. From fighting avian flu to treating illness and disease in humans to protecting water quality and educating the next generation of leaders, a strong University of Minnesota is critical to our state’s economy and quality of life.

I look forward to working with the Governor and legislators to ensure the University remains accessible to our brightest students and maintains its reputation as a world-class institution.”

The University’s Board of Regents will review Kaler’s proposed FY16 operating and capital budgets at its meetings on June 11-12.

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