Higher education community programs showcased

Presenters to the Senate higher education committee trumpeted the University’s value in the face of a looming state budget deficit.

Andrew Pritchard

Higher education faculty, students and administrators showcased community improvement programs for the Senate’s Higher Education Budget Division on Tuesday.

“This is education for regular people who go on to fill very important jobs that touch all our lives,” said Phillip Davis, president of the Minneapolis Community and Technical College, which hosted the meeting.

Harry Boyte, senior fellow at the University’s Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, discussed the institute’s Public Achievement partnership to promote youth involvement in government, and MCTC faculty and students pitched the school’s urban teacher training and service learning projects.

“This is really a wonderful way for us to be able to deliver a service to the community,” said electronic publishing instructor Bill Hendricks, whose students partnered with Eureka Recycling in St. Paul.

Presenters also told lawmakers to remember higher education while confronting the state’s 2004-05 budget deficit.

“Legislatures before you and even now have created a fine system of schools and opportunity in Minnesota,” General Mills Foundation Vice President David Nasby said. “We can all be proud.”

“You’ll hear many stories about need,” Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak told the committee, “and you face very tough decisions.”

The committee’s chairwoman, Sandy Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, said higher education’s state funding has been steady at approximately $600 million per year over the last decade.

However, she said, higher education as a proportion of the state budget has fallen from 13.1 percent during the 1982-83 academic year to approximately 9 percent currently, while the share of funding for K-12 education and health care increased.

The University and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system each receive approximately 45 percent of state higher education dollars.

The Higher Education Service Office, which includes the state grants program, receives the remaining 10 percent.

Andrew Pritchard covers politics and

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