Higher ed bill omits funding for freeze

Logan Wroge

State officials who will help determine the University of Minnesota’s budget unveiled a proposal Monday that doesn’t include funding for the school’s requested tuition freeze.
 
Republicans in the Minnesota House of Representatives released their all-encompassing higher education bill, which doesn’t provide extra funding to hold tuition flat for some students over the next two years, like the University is requesting this legislative session.
 
On Tuesday, the House’s Higher Education Policy and Finance committee will discuss the proposal, and the Senate’s higher education committee will discuss its separate budget plan as well. Lawmakers from both chambers have until May 18, when the legislative session ends, to finalize the University’s budget.
 
The proposal released Monday provides tuition relief for the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system but doesn’t include requested funding for the state grant program. Some Democratic-Farmer-Labor legislators opposed the recommendations.
 
“We have a $1.86 billion surplus, and we are going to continue — at least in the University of Minnesota — tuition increases. We’re going to continue record debt, and we have the resources to stop both,” said Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona.
 
The University is requesting $148.2 million from the state this session — $65.2 million of which would cover the cost of a tuition freeze over the next two years for resident undergraduate, graduate and professional students.