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Performer Mayyadda singing at the University of Minnesota Juneteenth Celebration “We Are The Noise: The Echoes of Our Ancestors” captured on Saturday, June 15.
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Published June 23, 2024

UMN requests an additional $45 million from legislature

The University of Minnesota is seeking the extra money from the state to help fund its foundational services.
Image by Wejdan al Balushi
The budget request would be discussed in the spring legislative session.

The University of Minnesota presented a $45 million supplemental budget request on Oct. 30 at the House of Representatives higher education committee hearing to provide additional funding to support foundational services for the University.

The University’s request will be used to support student needs by limiting tuition increases and investing in student services like advising and tutoring. Additionally, the funding will be used to retain and fairly compensate faculty and staff, maintain classrooms and other facilities and support research and technology.

Interim President Jeff Ettinger said at the hearing the University is seeking to remain a national leader and economic driver in Minnesota.

“We need to be in a position where we are supporting both of those,” Ettinger said.

Rep. Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) said there is no guarantee the University will receive any supplemental budget request. Even if additional dollars are available, the request would be fulfilled once.

“I have no authority, nor will I guarantee any type of supplemental budget in 2024,” Pelowski said before the University formally presented its budget request.

The current $45 million supplemental request is the same proposal from last year, Ettinger said. The request will be a 3.3% increase from the two-year base budget, increasing the budget from $1.34 billion to $1.39 billion.

Julie Tonneson, the University budget director, said 38% of the total budget consists of state-appropriated funding and tuition. Of that amount, 40% is state funding and 60% is tuition.

From 2023 to 2025, tuition has increased 3.5% on the Twin Cities campus, according to the University’s annual tuition rates dataset.

Tuition was estimated $24 million below budget last year due to significant decreases in enrollment, Tonneson said.

To proactively address any budgetary issues, Tonneson said the University began estimating budget and enrollment rates in September to provide more accurate numbers.

While plans are being implemented to address enrollment numbers, campus budgets are being adjusted to reflect smaller sizes, Tonneson said. Unlike the University of Wisconsin system, the University of Minnesota’s programs and campuses are not being closed, but that option has not been eliminated.

“We have tough decisions to be made to reduce costs,” Tonneson said.

Shashank Murali, the undergraduate student president, said funding is necessary to address certain issues students face, like food insecurity and housing.

“I think the University is doing a good job with some of the programs right now to help address some of those basic needs, but I think that there is always room to do more,” Murali said.

Additional hearings will be held before Feb. 12 when the Senate meets, Pelowski said.

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