Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This Year's Version of Tuition Blackmail
Or, Junk and the Guv Go At It

From Kare:

Bruininks began by thanking the committee for giving the U more than a 16 percent boost last session, as part of an effort to restore deep cuts made during the 2003 budget crisis.

He said raising tuition will be the last resort when it comes to making up for the Governor's proposed cuts. Bruininks noted that the U of M already committed to holding the annual tuition increase to below five percent.

But he questioned the wisdom of state government leaning on colleges and universities as a means to fix the fiscal shortfall.

"To put higher education out at the front of the parade when it comes to budget reductions is just not a very smart strategy for the long-term future of the university of Minnesota, MnSCU or the state of Minnesota."

When Governor Pawlenty outlined his plan for plugging a $935 million projected deficit, he suggested the University of Minnesota and the MnSCU system are top-heavy organizations.

"It should not affect, we do not believe, tuition if they do this correctly," Pawlenty said of the cutbacks he's expecting from higher education, "And if they need some help identifying where to cut we'll be happy to make some suggestions to them starting with administration in both institutions."

Pawlenty maintained that $27 million is a relatively small chunk of change for a university system with a $1.7 billion total budget, including state aid, tuition and federal and private grants.

"They also have reserves of a substantial nature at the University of Minnesota," Pawlenty said of his alma mater, "So they can probably handle this deficit by using some or all of their reserves."
See the previous post below concerning OurLeader's apparent priorities.

Perhaps we could avoid a large tuition increase by deferring (permanently?) some of the administrations special projects?

Perhaps we should pay a little more attention to our land grand mission and abandon the "ambitious aspiration to be one of the top three public research universities in the world [sic]?"

Let's commit to being one of the better universities in the BigTen. If we actually committed to stabilizing tuition perhaps that would make the people of the state a little more inclined to go along with more funding for the U? How about it Bob, at what point are you going to start leading us in playing the cards we've got?

Think about it. Time marches on. We have been rowing in tar for the last couple of years and things - despite the expensive public relations campaign - do not seem to be getting any better.

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