House votes to increase U funding

The full House voted 86-44 Thursday to increase funding to the University of Minnesota that would freeze tuition for the next two years.

Alma Pronove

 

The full Minnesota House voted to increase funding for the University of Minnesota after an hour-long debate. 

Representatives passed the bill that would freeze tuition for Minnesota undergraduates at the University for the next two years.

Rep. Bud Nornes, R-Fergus Falls, said the bill passed with bipartisan support.

“It’s hard to be opposed to education. Nobody wants to vote against the kids,” he said.

Fourteen House Republicans voted in favor of the tuition freeze, despite concerns over raised taxes to meet those costs.

Legislators praised House higher education committee Chairman Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, for his critical response to the University of Minnesota’s request for more funding.

The bill also includes language detailing increased administrative oversight and how higher education institutions are to report to the state, in response to the Wall Street Journal article discussing administrative bloat.

“Higher education has to report to us differently,” Pelowksi said. “There has to be some accountability in administrative costs.”

Contrary to the Senate version of the bill, the House version doesn’t include any performance goals the University would have to meet to receive a portion of its funding in the future. Pelowski said he wasn’t convinced performance goals were effective.

A few legislators introduced amendments aiming to decrease administrative spending, but none were adopted.

The House version of the bill is about $113 million less than the one the Senate passed last week.

Legislators will meet in conference committee to iron out the differences between the two bills in the coming weeks.