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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Legislative bill makes deep higher ed cuts

Campus has prepared over last two years

The Minnesota Legislature has passed a bill reducing allocations for higher education while capping tuition increases charged to students. The bill must be signed by the governor to become law.

2011-03-31
By Annie Stensrud, KEYC-TV Anchor/Reporter [broadcast on KEYC-TV, North Mankato, MN, 3/30/2011]

College tuition continues to rise and now there's another reason for the increase: The state House passed a bill Tuesday to cut funding on higher education.

It's a tough reality for public colleges and universities right now. And now, it's getting tougher because the state House voted to cut funding to higher education to help balance the state budget.

Something that Minnesota State Mankato President Richard Davenport says comes as no surprise.

"Over the past two years, we've been making a number of budget decisions and reductions, hoping that we've made enough cuts so that we don't have to go back and make additional cuts," said Davenport.

In addition to cuts, legislators also approved a tuition increase cap this year at four percent for universities and two percent at the community colleges.

Considering both Minnesota State Mankato and South Central College were planning a five percent increase, that's money they were hoping for, but won't get.

"Obviously it's a major decrease in state appropriation for us, anywhere from about five and a half to about seven million dollars. One thing that we're really concerned about is capping the tuition increase at four percent," said Minnesota State Mankato Vice President Rick Straka.

"The college just doesn't choose a number and say they'll raise tuition by this much, so what we're always trying to do is make up for what the state isn't doing for support," said South Central College President Keith Stover.

Because of the cuts, class sizes could get bigger, fewer classes may be offered, and staff members could lose their jobs.

"My biggest concern is that the legislature and their priority seems to be moving away from higher education. Higher education really is the engine that helps this state go and certainly will help us with economic development," said Davenport.

And concerns about students graduating to help power the future.

The Senate passed their version of this higher education bill on Wednesday. It also includes the tuition caps.

For the online KEYC-TV story, click on http://www.keyc.tv/Global/story.asp?S=14352380

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