News Column

Minnesota Senate Passes $2.8 Billion Higher-ed Bill

April 18, 2013
EDUCATION

A plan to spend an additional $263 million on higher education and impose new accountability measures passed by a comfortable margin in the Minnesota Senate on Wednesday, April 17.

Several Republicans joined every DFLer in voting for the $2.8 billion higher-education budget, which passed on a 46-18 vote after several hours of debate.

The plan provides an additional $80 million each to the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System and the state grant program.

That money comes with some tightened controls.

The bill makes about $30 million of the total appropriation to the U and MnSCU subject to system leaders meeting three out of five performance metrics related to graduation, administrative-cost reduction and other priorities.

The bill freezes tuition at the U, and an amendment adopted Wednesday caps tuition increases at MnSCU at 3 percent.

Other amendments passed on the floor restrict the use of state funding for bonuses at the U and MnSCU, prevent using state money to buy out athletics department employee contracts at the U, and require each system to develop a policy about hosting, spending money or conferring honors on someone who has been convicted of terrorism or publicly acknowledges participating in it.

That last requirement stemmed from the recent announcement by Minnesota State University-Moorhead that it would have William Ayers, a radical activist in the 1960s and '70s, as a visiting

scholar.

In the House, the higher-education bill would add $150 million in new money. It, too, would impose tighter controls on both the U and MnSCU.

The House bill freezes in-state resident tuition in both systems. The House is expected to take up its bill next week.



Source: (c)2013 Pioneer Press (St. Paul, Minn.). Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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