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Morris Awaits Regents' Budget Approval

Posted by Jenna Ray on Wednesday, Jun. 12, 2013

On Wednesday, June 5, University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler presented his recommended annual operating budget for fiscal year 2014 (FY14) to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents. This budget builds on President Kaler’s biennial budget request to the state, which prioritized stabilizing tuition for resident undergraduates and investing in innovation to advance Minnesota’s industry and economy. Pending approval by the Board of Regents, the budget leverages a renewed investment in the University by the state. The University received 86 percent of its total request, marking the first realized increase in state support in six years.

The cornerstone of this biennial budget request is to keep education accessible for all qualified Minnesota students by freezing tuition for two years. The University will receive $14.2 million in state support for FY14 to accomplish this tuition freeze—the first in at least a generation. At Morris, tuition will be frozen at $11,720. President Kaler will also introduce a resolution for the Regents’ consideration that would freeze undergraduate tuition for FY15 as well. With this plan, approximate tuition savings for a Morris student during the biennium would be $2,500.

Morris Campus Student Association Vice-President Andrew Sletten ’14, Fergus Falls, joined hundreds of fellow students to advocate for this tuition freeze at Support the U Day last February. Sletten hoped he and his peers could inspire lawmakers to increase state funding for the University. Having succeeded in this endeavor, he now expresses hope for the future of higher education in Minnesota.

“It’s a really exciting step in the right direction that I hope is a sign of good things to come,” says Sletten. “It’s awesome to see something come to fruition that carries such great benefit for students and was spurred by students.”

The state also appropriated $17.8 million for the University’s Minnesota Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy (MnDRIVE) program, which aims to enhance the state’s economy and improve the wellbeing of Minnesotans. These funds will support research in the critical areas of food safety, defense, and production neuromodulation and robotics as well as advancing industry and preserving the environment.

“I am truly pleased that the State of Minnesota and the University recognize the financial challenges that our students and their families face,” says Chancellor Jacqueline Johnson. “The tuition freeze is a step in the right direction as we work to make college affordable for all our citizens. And the MnDRIVE initiative allows campuses across the state to enhance their research and economic development efforts, another positive move for our region and the state.”

After being signed into law by Governor Mark Dayton on May 24, the proposed FY14 budget was submitted to the Board of Regents and was followed by a public hearing. With consideration given and any necessary adjustments made, the Board of Regents is expected to approve the final operating budget on Friday, June 14.

Editor's Note: The Board of Regents approved the FY14 operating budget on Friday, June 14.