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President Robert Bruininks.

This Friday, President Bob Bruininks will make public his recommendations for the U's 2005-06 operating budget.

U biennial budget: state funding and public forum

By Pauline Oo

Published on June 8, 2005

With the passing of the Higher Education Bill last month, the University of Minnesota is another step closer to cementing its operating budget for the next two years. University President Bob Bruininks will present his 2005-06 annual budget and tuition recommendations at the Board of Regents monthly meeting this Friday, June 10.

Bruininks's proposal, which will only be made public on June 10, incorporates new state funding for the U from this legislative session. (Information about this proposed budget will be available beginning June 10 at www.budget.umn.edu.) Governor Tim Pawlenty signed the Higher Education Bill on May 26, giving the University $106 million in new funding over the next two years. While the total falls short of the U's $126 million request, it will provide the University with funds to invest in the biosciences, attracting and retaining talented students and faculty, and research support.

Public forum on U budget,

The Board of Regents will host a public forum on Monday, June 13, at 12:30 p.m. in 600 McNamara Alumni Center on the Twin Cities campus to hear viewpoints and concerns about the University's budget for fiscal year 2006. (The regents will act on it on June 27.)

"[This budget] will also help us avoid the kind of tuition increases we've had in recent years," says Bruininks. The U's 2006-07 biennial budget request to the state, which proposed a 50-50 partnership with the state, called for the University to fund its share through a $15 million internal reallocation and a 5.5 percent tuition increase. Since the 2000-01 academic year, tuition for undergraduates on the Twin Cities campus has increased by more than 50 percent. In 2004, the University ranked third in the Big Ten for highest undergraduate tuition behind Penn State and Michigan. This year, tuition and required fees for resident undergraduate on the Twin Cities campus costs $8,029.

In addition to funding for the University, the Higher Education Bill passed last month includes funding for Minnesota State Colleges and Universities and the Higher Education Services Office, as well as $3.2 million to create a higher education plan for Rochester. The 11-member Rochester Higher Education Development Committee will research opportunities and options for a higher education institution in the area, including an expansion of the U in Rochester.

Sprucing up the campuses

The University is set to receive $134 million in state contributions for construction and renovation projects with the passage of a previously delayed bonding bill for the state. To learn more about the U's capital request, read "State bonding bill gives U $111 million."

Legislators are currently in special session, which officially began May 24. The stadium bill might appear on their agenda; it has broad bipartisan support but did not see final action before the end of the regular legislative session on May 23.

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