MnSCU follows U’s lead, solicits funds

Tom Ford

Mirroring University President Robert Bruininks’ appearance last week, Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Chancellor Jim McCormick lobbied the House Higher Education Finance Committee on Wednesday for funding.

“The state appropriations for full-time students have declined over the past four years,” McCormick said.

He told committee members although MnSCU has not seen funding cuts, the steady increase in enrollment has thinned its resources.

“The demand for a Minnesota state college education has never been higher,” McCormick said. He added that MnSCU schools saw an increase in enrollment of approximately 8 percent to 9 percent this year, which he said was higher than the University system.

McCormick said enrollment at MnSCU institutions has increased 20 percent since 1998.

He also stressed that approximately 370,000 students attend MnSCU’s 34 colleges and universities, accounting for 67 percent of the state’s students. He said only 13 percent of the state’s college students are enrolled in the University system.

“That just suggests the impact this institution has on people in the state,” McCormick said. Eighty-one percent of MnSCU graduates stayed in Minnesota, he said, which proves money directed toward MnSCU is an investment in the state.

“We are going to need workers and employees in the state of Minnesota,” McCormick said. “The fact that we invest Ö and that they contribute to the economic health and vitality (of the state) is so important.”

According to MnSCU statistics, the percentage of operating costs funded by state appropriations decreased 10 percent from 1999 to 2002.

McCormick also expressed concern regarding the tuition rates of MnSCU two-year schools, which he said are higher than those in some neighboring states.

“When we lose students to other states, they are less likely to come back after their education,” McCormick said.