University releases proposed $122 million biennial budget request

If approved by the Board of Regents, the request of state lawmakers would include funds for research, for Bell Museum operations and for a new, multi-campus student success center, among others.

Brian Edwards

The University of Minnesota is readying to lobby the Minnesota legislature for funding this year with the release of its proposed $122 million biennial budget request Friday.

The request — which covers fiscal years 2018 and 2019 — includes money “to keep a lid on tuition for Minnesota residents,” for a multi-campus student center, for operations of the new Bell Museum of Natural History, and to retain staff, faculty and student programs, among others, according to a Friday afternoon press release.

The University would also like the state to provide funds for a program to increase the number of Minnesota students from underrepresented and underserved communities.

The requests would result in a nearly 10 percent increase over current funding levels if approved. The proposal will be reviewed by the University’s Board of Regents Thursday and Friday.

Some programs that went without funding from past legislative sessions, like health training formerly done by UCare, are included in the request according to the press release.

The budget is split into three parts: student success, MnDRIVE — a research partnership between the state and University — and resources for the University priorities, like STEM funding, research and a student center.

“The University of Minnesota has a responsibility to improve the lives of Minnesotans through education, research and public engagement,” said University President Eric Kaler in the release. “These initiatives have guided the development of this biennial budget request.”

The proposed request is about $26 million less than the school’s 2016-17 budget request. Lawmakers decided to allocate about $52 million to the University.

Regents are expected to vote on the proposal at their October meeting.

Once agreed on by the board, the budget request must be approved by state legislators and Gov. Mark Dayton. The state Legislature reconvenes in January.