Regents pass Yudof’s first budget proposal

by Jeremy Taff

The Board of Regents unanimously passed University President Mark Yudof’s first-ever budget proposal on Thursday at its June meeting.
Regents approved the University budget, the capital budget and a plan to adjust undergraduate tuition rates by the 2000-01 academic year.
Yudof explained the tuition increases, saying he feels students pay a fair share of the overall University budget. He said the majority of funding for the University comes from resources other than student tuition.
“Ninety-seven percent is coming from some place other than the pockets of the members of this University,” Yudof said.
He said funding from the state Legislature and alumni is crucial to implementing the goals of U2000, former University President Nils Hasselmo’s restructuring plan for the institution.
“The question is not, what is the rate of inflation, but what is our commitment to improve the University and how much does that cost over time?” Yudof said. More funding means that talented professors will not leave the University for other colleges, Yudof added.
Yudof said private support for the University increased by 40 percent this year, if current projections hold true. Martha Douglas, director for the University of Minnesota Foundation, said the University received $107 million in private support last year. That would mean the University would receive almost $150 million in private donations this year.
Scott Roethle, student representative to the Board of Regents, said he was concerned that increased tuition rates would hurt students teetering on the brink of bankruptcy.
“There is financial aid for need-based students that significantly offsets the increases for the upcoming year,” said Richard Pfutzenreuter, associate vice president in the Office of Budget and Finance.
Before the Regents passed the University’s budget for next year, Yudof said graduate assistants deserve decent health care and said their concerns will be addressed.
“It may have to come out of this budget, we may have to come back to the board, but there is money for this,” Yudof said. The board will discuss the graduate assistant health care package in July.
Yudof and regents also recognized Morris Chancellor David Johnson, who will retire at the end of the month. Johnson received a standing ovation.
“I’m very grateful to be a part of this place,” Johnson said. “I can’t tell you how wonderful these past eight years have been.”