University of Minnesota finding balance during unstable times

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by Laura Huiras | June 12th, 2009 • What happens when the largest educational institution in Minnesota faces state funding cuts of $177 million dollars over the next two years? Difficult decisions must be made.

Hindsight is the official blog of Minnesota 2020. Hindsight gives the run down on the news that jumps out at us on the issues that matter. Often times these stories show us how much further we need to go to have the progressive policy realized in Minnesota.

University of Minnesota President Robert Bruinicks is proposing a cutback of 1,200 jobs to the Board of Regents on June 24th. Around 200 of these jobs are expected to be faculty positions. In an MPR interview, the president stated that he hopes the reductions can be made through “normal attrition and retirement incentives to reduce the size of the workforce across the state of Minnesota.”

While the U of M has managed to keep tuition from drastically rising for the upcoming year, that is not the situation facing all colleges and universities in Minnesota.

As state colleges and universities face budget cutbacks by the state, where has our commitment to higher education gone? Higher ed administrators have surrendered to the fact that budgets will be cut while students expect increases in tuition. While many factors are tied into the educational crisis, it must be noted that Gov. Pawlenty’s “no new taxes” pledge has constricted further investment during the present economic hardships. More stability in state funding to higher ed institutions is necessary to achieve a workable balance between the government and these institutions. Adjusting to difficult economic times while working to achieve feasible educational models are essential for a future that moves Minnesota forward.

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