Wednesday, June 7, 2023

Minnesota colleges poised to get millions in extra funding but not ... - Star Tribune

Minnesota lawmakers are poised to give the state's public colleges and universities hundreds of millions of dollars in additional funding — enough to cover many of their requests, but likely not all of them.

With Democrats in control of the State Capitol and a historic surplus, leaders of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State system of colleges and universities submitted the largest funding requests in years. Lawmakers, in sometimes pointed hearings, have pushed them to justify why they need more funding amid enrollment declines.

Halfway through the session, higher education advocates say they're cautiously optimistic and still hoping for more.

"I think there still is work to be done there," said Mike Dean, executive director of LeadMN, which represents students at two-year colleges. The group is hoping this will be the year that lawmakers enact a program to provide free college tuition for more Minnesota students.

Lawmakers' decisions in the coming months will determine how much money the systems have to work with as they craft their budgets for the coming school year. That will guide, among other things, how much students pay in tuition, how many staff and programs they keep and how many services are available to address mental health and safety concerns.

Leaders at the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State have told lawmakers they expect they will have to take steps to reduce their costs, even if they were to get their full funding requests.


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