Editorial: Fully fund the University of Minnesota

It’s up to state legislature to fully fund the University, and we believe it is more than necessary.

by Daily Editorial Board

University of Minnesota officials have been feeling the heat lately when it comes to raises in tuition. In January, the Minnesota Daily reported President Kaler anticipates a 2 percent resident tuition hike for next year if the University’s biennial budget is met. This announcement has not come without backlash. Lawmakers have questioned the continued tuition hikes and many students have shared their hesitation or opposition.

During Kaler’s testimony given to the Legislature on Jan. 15, he discussed the University’s importance within the state and urged lawmakers to completely fund their budget and capital funding requests. Kaler requested $87 million in additional funding for the next two years on top of $232.3 million for infrastructure funding.

With the sharp tuition difference between Minnesota residents and out-of-state students, many have shared concerns regarding funding for the University and potential tuition hikes.

Support the U Day, an event that took place at the Minnesota State Capitol April 3, rallied hope for the University. This event gave students the chance to advocate for the value of their education and allowed students to meet with senators and representatives. The goals of this event include improving infrastructure, updating research facilities and retaining great faculty.

The University deserves full funding. Tuition and other college costs have grown exponentially, and without funding from our state government, students are facing more costs that they don’t deserve and can’t afford. The number of out-of-state students is already on the decline, and another hike will make matters worse.

We urge the legislatures to consider the value our University offers to the state. As a top research institution, the University’s innovative efforts bring unmatched value to the state. A 2018 report found that “the University of Minnesota contributes more than $8.6 billion a year in economic activity to the state” through these efforts, including solar energy research, efforts to create a mono vaccine and opioid research. These don’t only provide students with opportunities; they also bring value to the entire state and communities beyond.

We also believe the University is a draw, as an elite institution, in bringing new people to the state. Having a university with the research capabilities, opportunities and networking connections the University offers only elevates the state. We hope that, with full funding, the University can continue bringing value to all of Minnesota.