Conference committee: the first major proposals

Devin Henry

Senators in the higher education conference committee offered the first major proposals for a compromise on the higher education funding bill on Thursday.

The conference committee is made up of senators and representatives meeting to hammer out differences between their two versions of the higher education bill, which directly affects funding at the University of Minnesota. Major points of the Senate offer today include the following:

-Accepting the Senate’s proposed $1,148,616,000 in funding for University operations and maintenance over the next two years. The House proposes $1,035,246,000 in funding.

-Accepting the Senate’s proposed $57,663,000 in one-time federal stimulus funding for 2010. The House proposes using $231,462,000 in stimulus money over the next two years.

-Accepting the House’s proposed language to make sure tuition increases at the University do not exceed $300 (roughly 3 percent) per year each of the next two years.

University officials have said that the large amount of stimulus funding in the House’s proposal would be used to ensure that tuition stipulation. Should the plan outlined above be accepted, the University would receive nearly $173.8 million less to ensure that goal.

The conference committee has until one week from today to approve an agreed-upon bill.