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Feature

Regents approve budget requests to state

From eNews, December 2, 2004

On January 4, 2005, the Minnesota Legislature--with 25 newly elected representatives joining its ranks--will convene its biennial session. Legislators will consider two important requests from the University: the 2006-07 biennial budget request and the 2004 capital bonding request, which the legislature failed to pass in the last session.

The Board of Regents approved the University's 2006-07 biennial budget request for submission to the state at its monthly meeting in November. The request, which proposes a 50-50 partnership with the state, calls for $42 million in new state support for each of the next two years. The University will fund its share through a 5.5 percent tuition increase and a $15 million internal reallocation each year. It would use the new state funding to invest in academic initiatives in the biosciences; programs to attract and retain talented faculty, students, and staff; and sustain the U's research and technology infrastructure.

The regents also agreed to resubmit the U's 2004 capital bonding request. The University will present an updated capital request based on inflationary guidelines outlined by the state. The request calls for $192.1 million-about $8 million more than the original proposal that was submitted to lawmakers in early 2004--with a state commitment of $158.1 million (and the U would fund the rest ). The request, which has four components, focuses primarily on the renovation of older buildings.

"The failure to pass a bonding bill last year represents a missed opportunity of great proportions," says President Bob Bruininks. "The University cannot attract or retain high-quality faculty without state-of-the-art research labs, and Minnesota's brightest high school students will not even consider the U without the best faculty and modern classrooms. Good facilities are part of offering students more choices and more opportunities. They are the meat and potatoes of what we offer--not dessert."

The University has more than 800 buildings systemwide (including research and outreach centers), of which 65 percent are more than 30 years old and 25 percent are more than 75 years old. On the Twin Cities campus alone, more than 100 buildings are more than 50 years old.

To learn more about the University's biennial and capital budget requests, see www.umn.edu/govrel. For information on how you can advocate for the U, see www.umn.edu/groots.

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