MnSCU will present modest budget request

Associated Press

ST. PAUL -- The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system is downsizing its budget request for the next two years because of the state's budget crunch, but still expects only modest tuition increases.

MnSCU will ask lawmakers in January for an extra $107.6 million during the next two years, about one-third of what the system's leaders really want.

Officials told trustees that tuition will go up by no more than 3 percent in each of the two years if they are given the entire budget increase. Students this year and last faced double-digit tuition increases.

The system -- which includes state universities, community colleges and technical colleges -- also expects to keep operating costs down, as well as make modest investments in technology, nursing education, teacher education and courses designed for farm and small-business owners.


MnSCU's Board of Trustees approved the budget request unchanged on Wednesday, a day after a trustees committee backed the proposal.

"This is not a get-ahead budget," said trustee Michael Redlinger, a student at Minnesota State University Moorhead, echoing comments not only from other trustees, but also faculty, student representatives and staff attending the committee meeting Tuesday.

What MnSCU has done is unveil a budget proposal that is a marked departure from the usual big requests presented to lawmakers that are then negotiated down.

The University of Minnesota, a separate institution, did the same last week, proposing to get an extra $96 million during the next two years, its lowest increase request in a decade.

MnSCU, for its part, has requested the smallest increase in at least six years. Vice Chancellor Laura King said the system, no matter how much it has asked for, historically gets about $100 million extra with each two-year budget. That is why officials decided to ask for about that much in January, hoping that lawmakers reward them for not being greedy.

It is not, however, a sure bet. Minnesota faces a deficit that could reach $3 billion next year.

"We're counting on getting 100 percent of what we want in order to maintain (programming)," said trustee Ann Curme Shaw.

What To Read Next
Fundraising is underway to move the giant ball of twine from the Highland, Wisconsin, home of creator James Frank Kotera, who died last month at age 75, 44 years after starting the big ball.