Duluth plans to tackle its deficit

Daily Editorial Board

Last month, the University of Minnesota-Duluth’s chancellor released a concrete proposal for how to tackle the school’s $4.3 million deficit and balance its budget by 2019.
 
 
The multi-pronged plan suggests merging the school’s five colleges into three, trimming departments, cutting unpopular courses and boosting enrollment through marketing and campus improvements. It also calls for two $1 million allocations from the University system. 
 
 
Though Duluth’s financial woes are serious, we commend the chancellor’s effort to address them. Not only does the plan propose how to balance a multi-million deficit, but it also does so with genuine effort to avoid the kind of resource cuts that would only stymie future financial security.
 
 
And considering the school’s enrollment has fallen by about 890 students over the past five years — from 10,796 in 2010 to 9,907 this spring — leaders are smart to include efforts to attract more tuition-paying students in their financial plans.
 
 
Chancellor Lendley Black’s budget proposal also highlights the value of the University’s five-campus system, wherein our large campus can support smaller satellites. 
 
 
Our sprawling Twin Cities campus is mammoth compared to other University sites — we account for about 77 percent of the entire system and outnumber Duluth students by almost five times. 
 
 
Sometimes differences in size and proximity can leave satellite campuses behind. For example, an advisory opinion found last month that students from Duluth were underrepresented in professional graduate student government.
 
 
However, the model of a multi-campus University means the system has a duty to support smaller campuses, especially in order to avoid raising tuition.