State higher education office lays out budget specifics

House higher education committee members just got a more detailed look at the governor’s higher-ed budget proposal from the state Office of Higher Education this afternoon.

I’m trying to post a PDF of the Office of Higher Education’s take when I get one, but for now I’ll give some highlights from the paper copy.

Though the Minnesota State Grant was spared, the budget does cut a number of other smaller grants and programs.

What’s eliminated:

  • Achieve Scholarship Program. Effective FY 2012.
  • United Family Practice, which supports medical residents’ training to be family practice physicians.

What’s cut heavily:

  • Minnesota College Savings Match (-75 percent), a program of matching grants to the Minnesota College Savings Plan for low-income families. Effective FY 2013.
  • State Work Study (-33 percent). About 3,500 fewer students will be employed with this program.

Cuts of 4-5 percent:

  • Postsecondary Child Care Grants
  • American Indian Scholarship
  • Agency administration
  • Minitex/MnLINK library programs
  • Parent Information Outreach
  • Get Ready Program Outreach

Both the University of Minnesota and Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MnSCU) systems saw cuts of 6 percent.

At the U of M, that includes operations and maintenance, but also 6 percent off:

  • Ag and extension services
  • Health sciences
  • Institute of Technology
  • System specials
  • The U of M – Mayo Clinic partnership.

In MnSCU, that includes operations and maintenance, but also but also 6 percent off::

  • Central Office
  • Learning Network.

Rep. Kim Norton Rep. Norton, who’s also on the Health and Human Services Reform committee, expressed concern that the elimination of the United Family Practice program conflicts with the general push for more family practice doctors as a part of health care reform.

“We talked about this being part of success of health care reform,” she said.

The push is designed to lower medical costs by having more patients first visit general practitioners instead of going straight to more expensive specialists.

After Higher Education Commissioner Sheila Wright spoke of the budget’s ability to preserve the core of higher education, Rep. Gene Pelowski pressed her for a list of priority cuts — both in the state office and in the U of M and MnSCU systems — in the event the state needs to slash more.

Wright said she was “unprepared to do that.”

Pelowski shot back:

“I would hope higher education would stop this higher-ed speak and talk to us of the painful reality. We need to know the consequences of what could happen, system by system. … I would hope that you would be prepared for the worst. … Eduspeak won’t help that.”