MnSCU Chair: MnSCU can access money to stay open

At the end of the finance committee meeting this morning, MnSCU Chairman Scott Thiss announced that the system will have access to its state funds despite a possible government shutdown -- the crucial factor in MnSCU's ability to keep operating in that event.

He told the board:

"Yesterday we were able to present to the governor our case. We’ve learned this morning that Gov. Dayton has agreed  that we will be able to continue using the system’s existing funds. MMB will be signing an agreement to provide payroll and payment processing services we need to stay open."

The money includes both millions in reserves and expected tuition during that period.

He continued:

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"We’re grateful our colleges and universities will able to provide our services and academic services to students without interruption. ...  I’m sure this removes stress from staff and students. One of my worries has been the long-term impact of losing students."

CFO Laura King pressed the importance of this to the board:

"The fall semester risk here was tremendous. This takes that risk away."

Chancellor James McCormick thanked student leaders who wrote letters to the governor stressing the importance of keeping MnSCU open:

"I appreciate that. Letters from students mean a lot."

After Thiss made the announcement, Minnesota State University - Moorhead President Edna Mora Szymanski hugged a MnSCU staffer and said:

"I feel so much better. So much better."

At one point, Thiss told MnSCU trustees and staff:

"It’s a good announcement. Back to work."