Thursday, February 8, 2007

The Game of Chicken Continues at the State Capitol

University of Minnesota President Bruininks says tuitions likely to creep upward
Thursday, 08 February 2007

by T.W. Budig
ECM capitol reporter

Sticking to Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s proposed University of Minnesota budget means student tuitions could creep up even higher than currently proposed, U of M President Robert Bruininks told lawmakers this week.

Indeed, it’s “near certain” tuitions would need to be hiked above the 4.5 percent annual increase — about $350 — currently proposed by the University, he explained.

“I’m not prepared to say today what that number would be,” said Bruininks, speaking after Wednesday’s (Feb. 7) hearing of the House Higher Education and Work Force Development Policy and Finance Committee.

Over the past four years tuitions have jumped more than 50 percent for the 65,000 students in the five-campus U of M system.

For the University to freeze tuitions, argues Bruininks, would translate into budget cuts, culling the student population — draconian steps. “It’s impossible,” he said.

Still, Rep. Melissa Hortman, DFL-Brooklyn Park, higher education committee member, is backing legislation to freeze higher education tuitions.

“Hopefully none,” she says of tuition increases coming out of the legislative session.

Meanwhile, back at Stadium Village...

U of M plans east-campus expansion

Minneapolis / St. Paul Business Journal - 2:37 PM CST Thursday, February 8, 2007
by John Vomhof Jr.
Staff Writer

University of Minnesota officials on Thursday proposed plans for an $18.2 million campus expansion project around TCF Bank Stadium, the new Gophers football stadium slated to open in fall 2009.

That part of campus, referred to as the East Gateway District, would be comparable in size to the university's West Bank campus and eventually could house eight to 10 new academic buildings.

University officials, in a funding request presented to the Board of Regents on Thursday, said the East Gateway District "is no longer the edge of campus, but rather a rapidly developing node of campus activity." Planned developments in the area include TCF Bank Stadium, light-right transit and the proposed Biomedical Research Facilities Authority.

The $18.2 million project would be funded by debt, which would be paid off at $1.2 million per year for 25 years.

University officials hope to have the project completed by fall or winter 2009, when TCF Bank Stadium and the Biomedical Research Facilities Authority building also are scheduled for completion. Most of the work on the project would be done by contractors working on the stadium and biomedical projects.

Mr. Bonzo is puzzled over the disconnect between OurLeader's insistence on getting what he wants or tuition will go up and his comment on the impossibility of a tuition freeze. But of course some additional building projects can be piggybacked on the $250+ million dollar stadium project, that's not impossible. Sort of reminds Mr. B. of the old Perry Como song, or:

Alice laughed: "There's no use trying," she said; "one can't believe impossible things."

"I daresay you haven't had much practice," said the Queen. "When I was younger, I always did it for half an hour a day. Why, sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast."
Alice in Wonderland.

OurLeader has actually had lots of practice believing impossible things, e.g. BigU will be one of the Top Three Public Research Universities [in the world] within ten years.

A cold Mr. Bonzo bids you adieu. He thanks a colleague for pointing out the article about plans for Stadium Village.

No comments: