Proposed State Funding Would Cause Tuition Increase, Cuts at UMD

State lawmakers plan to make big cuts in funding to University of Minnesota Schools

DULUTH, Minn. – Minnesota lawmakers are currently working through a spending plan for public colleges in the state.

As it stands right now, it appears lawmakers plan to make big cuts in funding to University of Minnesota Schools.

For UMD, this could mean an increase in tuition and cuts to university programs.

The U of M had requested about $147 million in additional funding from the state on top of its state allocation for the next two fiscal years.

Governor Mark Dayton countered that, proposing about $97 million. The house and senate came in with numbers significantly less, with the house at just $20 million and senate around $30 million.

University of Minnesota Duluth chancellor Lendley Black says he’s disappointed and concerned about these proposals coming out of the capitol.

“At the levels the house and the senate are talking about, it’s going to create some real issues for us,” explained Black. “It creates further budget challenges at UMD. We have done a great job the last few years of addressing our budget challenges, so this will definitely set us back.”

If the university’s budget request is not met, a lack of funding could lead to a tuition increase of up to 5 percent, according to a statement from University of Minnesota president Eric Kaler. That would mean an additional $300 to the already $6,000 cost each semester.

All of this could have a major impact on students as they consider the cost of living while in school.

“An increase in tuition means affordability for students and we have loan maximums that students can’t go over during their time as a student, so maximum loan aggregates during their lifetime as a student,” said Niki Pechinski, financial literacy director at UMD. “The higher we make tuition the closer we push students to that loan limit.”

Lawmakers are also discussing whether student fees should become optional, which would threaten funding to areas like the health center, student activities on campus, and athletics.

Governor Dayton will determine the final amount of funding state schools will receive.The board of regents will then allocate that money out to each university.

This budget cycle would take affect starting July 1 and span the next two fiscal years.