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U of M president to testify Feb. 18 before MN House Committee on Higher Ed

University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler will testify before the Minnesota House Committee on Higher Education Policy and Finance hearing scheduled from 2:45 to 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18, in Room 5, State Office Building, 100 Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd., St. Paul.

Kaler will provide an overview of the University’s biennial budget request. The University is requesting an increase of $148.2 million for four priority areas over the next two years. Student access and affordability tops the list:
• Kaler has asked for $65.2 million to freeze tuition for Minnesota students on all five campuses in 2015-16 and 2016-17. Gov. Dayton has proposed $32.6 million toward the tuition freeze, or roughly half of the investment necessary to hold tuition flat for all resident undergraduate, graduate and professional students system-wide.

The three other areas of the U’s budget request include:
• $55.5 million for a Healthy Minnesota and the Medical School, to strengthen the state’s health care delivery, address workforce shortages and strengthen U research to address the state's most pressing health care needs. The initiative would also expand education and training programs in dentistry, mental health and geriatrics—particularly in Greater Minnesota and underserved communities.
• $15 million for Facility Condition Improvement Strategy, for a more predictable funding stream to maintain the U’s 29 million square feet of infrastructure. In exchange for this general fund allocation, the U would decrease its Higher Education Asset Preservation and Restoration (HEAPR) capital request.
• $12.5 million for Vibrant Communities, to improve the environmental health and safety impacts of mining and examine related economic development opportunities, and promote economic prosperity of Minnesota’s communities.

Last week the Board of Regents revised the U’s budget request to include the governor’s proposed $30 million investment in the Medical School. Dayton’s plan would help recruit and hire 50 top tenure track faculty medical researchers over the next eight years, creating medical discovery teams. The plan would also help secure new research grants from funding agencies.

If fully funded ($704.6 million), by 2017, the U of M’s request would get the institution back to slightly above the level the state provided in 2008 ($684.4 million), without adjusting for inflation.

For more information on the U’s 2015 legislative request, visit govrelations.umn.edu.

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