Regents approve budget request

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday morning to approve President Bob BruininksâÄô proposed biennial budget request to the state Legislature. The proposed budget asks for a total budget increase of $141.2 million over two years, the second-lowest increase requested in the last decade. The proposed budget will increase tuition by 4.5 percent per year, or around $400 per student, Bruininks said. The plan will ask the state for money to fund three main areas: $95.2 million for retaining faculty and staff, $16 million for middle-income scholarship support and $30 million for research infrastructure. The scholarship program for middle-income students, combined with existing programs for low-income students and additional fundraising will combat the tuition increase for 9,000 University students, Bruininks said. Members of the board praised the plan for its balance between economic realities and working toward the UniversityâÄôs goals. The budgetâÄôs harshest criticism came from Regent Steven Hunter, who said that he was not entirely happy with the request because he would prefer to send a budget proposal to the state with a zero percent tuition increase. He did, however, vote for the proposal. Regent Dallas Bohnsack said the budget will face a lot of negotiations when it reaches the state Legislature, and the University will need to have contingency plans. He said itâÄôs a long-term proposal. âÄúSo you can see a lot of things that can come up, there could be some positive things, there could be some very challenging things,âÄù Bohnsack said. Whatever the state Legislature decides, the University will balance the budget, Bruininks said.