Posted at 10:26 AM on July 19, 2011
by Paul Tosto
CORRECTION: Higher education faces an 8.8 percent cut in spending over the next two years compared to current funding levels. An earlier version of this post put the cut at 13 percent.
Legislative leaders this morning posted a higher education spending bill that's part of the two-year budget deal to end the state government shutdown.
MPR News reporter Tim Pugmire writes:
State lawmakers released details this morning of a higher education funding bill.
The $2.6 billion higher education bill represents a $60 million increase from the Republican-backed bill passed in May. But spending is still down 8.8 percent from current levels.
Under the measure, the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system each get just over $1 billion.
The bill also establishes new performance benchmarks that both systems must meet to receive a portion of state funding.
Tuition increases for community and technical colleges only are capped at 4 percent. A controversial measure to restrict human cloning was removed from the bill.
UPDATE: MPR News higher ed blogger Alex Friedrich has posted a rundown on the higher ed bill.
I think the time has come for the University of Minnesota to start distancing itself more and more from state funding. They shouldn't have to go begging to a bunch of education-bashing legislative goons every year just to be inevitably cut more deeply. I eagerly await the day that the U of MN no longer has to answer to the Capitol for anything. It would require some tough decisions at the U (probably cutting a campus and shuttering some programs), but the long run of being free from the state completely would be well worth it.