Governor recommends $157.5 million increase for higher education

Governor recommends $157.5 million increase for higher education

Governor Tim Walz released his budget recommendations today for the 2020-2021 biennium. The Governor is proposing a $49.5 billion budget for the next budget cycle. The current state budget that is set to expire on July 1 is $45.5 billion. Included in his budget for higher education is $157. 54 million, a 4.8 percent increase over current funding.

Specifically for Minnesota State, of the system’s $246 million budget request, Walz is recommending a $51.6 million increase for the biennium, an increase of 3.6 percent. Of the $51.6 million, $43.6 million is for the campuses operating budgets to “prepare Minnesota students for success with a high quality, affordable education at Minnesota State colleges and universities.” Walz is also recommending $8 million for NextGen, a project that will replace the 20-year old outdated enterprise data system.

Governor Walz is also recommending full funding of the Minnesota State capital budget request of $150 million in HEAPR projects across the system. Walz announced he will be proposing a $1.27 billion bonding bill this session.

Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra released the following statement about the budget recommendation,

“We appreciate Governor Walz’s focus on our facilities’ infrastructure and asset preservation, and we share his perspective that all Minnesotans should have access to a quality, affordable higher education,” said Devinder Malhotra, chancellor of Minnesota State. “The budget proposed by Governor Walz would also allow us to continue our progress towards replacing our outdated student records system which will improve service to our students.

“Our budget proposal is focused on meeting the needs of our students, our colleges and universities, and the communities they serve. We remain concerned about the financial health of our colleges and universities, and we look forward to continuing our work with the Governor and legislators to strengthen access to a high quality, affordable higher education, ensure the success of our students, and deliver the talent Minnesota needs.”

The other $106 million recommended for higher education is for the University of Minnesota, the Minnesota State Grant program, and programs overseen by the Office of Higher Education. Under the Governor’s recommendation, the University of Minnesota would receive $39.18 million, an increase of three percent. In addition, the Governor is recommending $150 million in bonding projects for the University of Minnesota.

For the Office of Higher Education, Walz is recommending a $66.75 million increase, an increase of 13 percent. Of that amount, $54.167 million is for the State Grant program. The recommendation would increase the living and miscellaneous expenses allowance (LME) and decrease the assigned family responsibility by six percentage points. Under this proposal, the State Grant investment, combined with Federal Pell Grants, would cover the cost of tuition and fees at Minnesota State two-year colleges and four-year universities for students from families making up to $45,000 a year. There is also funding to increase communication and outreach to inform students, working adults and families about college costs and financial aid.

Walz’s budget also includes funding to, “boost college completion for returning adult students.” His proposal includes $8 million for the MN Reconnect program that helps adult learners re-enroll and complete their college education.

He includes $2 million to expand the Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS), and $250,000 is included for a Summer Academic Enrichment Program that will allow as many as 250 low-income elementary and secondary students to attend an approved academic summer program.

$336,000 is recommended for the Intervention for College Attendance Program (ICAP), which “provides grants to programs that foster academic success and ensure underrepresented students are prepared for college and a career.” And finally there is $2 million recommended for Dual Training Grants, which combines on-the-job training with classroom learning.

Additionally, for K-12 education, Governor Walz is proposing to increase the general education basic formula by three percent in the first year of the biennium and two percent in the second, or $189 per student in fiscal year 2020 and an additional $130 in fiscal year 2021 – an increase of $523 million.

The Governor’s budget proposal is the starting point as legislators and the governor work to reach an agreement on a two-year budget before adjournment on May 20, 2019. The beginning of the next budget cycle begins on July 1, 2019, and ends on June 30, 2021.

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