What the UMN says about the higher-ed bills


This just in from the U:

University of Minnesota Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter released the following statement today in response to the House and Senate higher education budget and capital investment bills.

“We are thrilled that the governor, senators and representatives agree that freezing tuition for the next two years is one of the most important issues facing our students and their families at the University of Minnesota,” Pfutzenreuter said. “This has been the central focus of President Kaler’s first biennial budget request, and we’re pleased there is agreement to move forward.”

The university is requesting $14.2 million annually to freeze tuition for Minnesota resident undergraduates over the 2014-15 biennium. Additionally, the university is seeking $18 million annually to fund the Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) program, for scientific research in four critical fields. The U has identified four areas that align with the state’s most pressing needs and emerging industries—food safety, neuromodulation, robotics and water quality.

“We are also encouraged by the receptivity to our important research initiative, MnDRIVE, which invests in the U’s innovation strengths to drive the state’s economy and create jobs,” Pfutzenreuter said. “Now is the time to invest in long-term benefits for Minnesota business and technologies, keeping our state competitive and driving high-paying job growth.”

The university is requesting $196.5 million in this year’s capital request. Of the university’s request, the House proposal funds $55.7 million but includes projects that were not part of the U’s initial request. Earlier this legislative session, Gov. Dayton recommended the Legislature fund $71.7 million of the request. It is unclear whether the Senate will hear a bonding bill during this year’s session.

“We are thankful for the Governor’s support, recognizing our priority building and infrastructure projects,” Pfutzenreuter said. “We will continue to work with the House, Senate and governor to fully fund priority projects that will create jobs and enhance the educational experience for University of Minnesota students. Additional support from the House, Senate and conference committees is critical to the university’s ability to modernize and reduce our cost of operations.”

More information on the University of Minnesota’s biennial budget request and 2013 capital request can be found at govrelations.umn.edu.

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