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U of M system chief backs plan to eliminate Duluth campus debt

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University of Minnesota Duluth
The University of Minnesota Duluth could see some serious debt relief under a proposal unveiled Friday by university system president Joan Gabel.
Bob Kelleher | MPR News 2010

The University of Minnesota president is asking the university system to pay off $6.8 million in debt for the University of Minnesota Duluth over the next two years.

UMD has not had a balanced budget since 2011, when enrollment started to decline. Since then tuition revenue and state support have failed to keep up with expenses.

Last week, the Duluth campus announced about $5 million in cuts that included 29 faculty and staff layoffs, and not filling the equivalent of some 30 other jobs.

While the proposal to pay off Duluth’s debt won’t stop the current cost-cutting plan, it will help give the campus a fresh start and let leaders focus on the future, Joan Gabel, president of the University of Minnesota system, said Friday.

Lendley Black, UMD’s chancellor, applauded Gabel’s announcement. “It is clear that she recognizes the difficult budgetary decisions we have made at UMD,” he said in a statement.