What the budget deal means for Minnesota colleges

The budget deal between Gov. Dayton and Republican leaders in the legislature carries a big cut for higher education funding, but it’s not as bad as college officials feared.

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system were each planning for cuts of $70 million dollars over the next two years.  That’s based on a higher ed bill passed by the Republican-controlled legislature.  The bill was vetoed by Gov. Dayton.

Now comes word the budget agreement being discussed at the Capitol adds $60 million back into higher education funding.

That’s according to U of M chief financial officer Richard Pfutzenreuter.  Pfutzenreuter thinks $50 million will go to the U, with $10 million for MnSCU.

I asked MnSCU officials what they thought of the deal, but they’re not ready to discuss the breakdown until it gets a final stamp of approval from the legislature.

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What does the extra money mean for the two systems?  It could ease tuition increases both systems were planning.  Although both would have trouble changing tuition rates this late in the year.  Any relief may not come until next semester, or even next fall, for students.

Even with the extra funding in the budget agreement, both college systems are preparing for big cuts this fall. They’ll both receive a little over $500 billion dollars in funding next year, about 15 percent less than the two systems were expecting.