Legislative Update – March 16, 2018

Governor supports higher education in his state of the state address and supplemental budget

Governor Mark Dayton delivered his final State of the State address Wednesday evening to a joint session of the Minnesota House and Senate. In his speech, Dayton provided a preview of his 2018 priorities, including funding for higher education. He is recommending $10 million for Minnesota State in fiscal year 2019 for campus support. He also announced his intention to include extra funding through bonding for capital improvements on Minnesota State and University of Minnesota campuses.

Dayton said, “State government’s funding for higher education has also declined. In 2012, state support for the University of Minnesota, Minnesota State, and financial aid was, in real dollars, the lowest it had been since 1981. Once again, we have restored some of that loss, but we have still shifted too much of the costs of attending our state colleges and universities onto students and their parents.”

Regarding bonding, Dayton said, “Further damaging the future success of our colleges and universities is the chronic inadequacy of our state’s capital investments in their campuses. It’s almost impossible to provide world-class education in antiquated buildings with leaky ceilings, dilapidated bathrooms, worn-out exteriors, and in classrooms without advanced technologies and other learning aids.”

Regarding the Governor’s strong support of campus funding and bonding for Minnesota State, Chancellor Devinder Malhotra said, “We sincerely appreciate the tremendous support that Governor Dayton has always shown for higher education and the 30 colleges and seven state universities of Minnesota State. All of the supplemental campus support funding recommended by the Governor would go directly to our colleges and universities to support the success of our 375,000 students. This is a critical need for our 54 campuses to continue to be the key to developing the talent needed to grow Minnesota’s economy.”

The full text of Governor Dayton’s speech can be found here.

The statement from Minnesota State in response to Governor’s Dayton’s State of the State can be found here.

In addition to the $10 million campus support funding Dayton announced in his speech, he also included $8.5 million ongoing funding in his supplemental budget recommendation for Next Gen. Minnesota State is requesting $21 million to fund Next Gen, which would serve as the central technology system for the 37 Minnesota State colleges and universities. ISRS, the current student record system, was originally developed in the 1990’s to meet HR, accounting, and student records needs of the newly formed system. It is critical to replace ISRS so that colleges and universities can continue to serve students effectively and efficiently. Students deserve a system that enhances their educational experience in a way that ISRS was never designed to provide.

“Governor Dayton has once again shown tremendous leadership and support for the critical role that higher education plays in driving the growth of Minnesota’s economy,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “Like his support for our capital and asset preservation projects and funding recommendation for our campuses, the technology infrastructure investment will provide our 37 colleges and universities the ability to improve the educational experience of our students so we can continue to serve our students effectively and efficiently. On behalf of our 375,000 students and 16,000 employees, we thank the Governor for his strong support of Minnesota State.”

The summary of Governor Dayton’s supplemental budget recommendations can be found here.

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