Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

House reduces college funding

ST. PAUL -- Conceding that tuition hikes are on the way, House members voted 81-51 Tuesday for a $2.6 billion higher education bill that props up student aid while coming down hard on colleges themselves.

ST. PAUL -- Conceding that tuition hikes are on the way, House members voted 81-51 Tuesday for a $2.6 billion higher education bill that props up student aid while coming down hard on colleges themselves.

The University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system would suffer combined cuts of almost $370 million over the next two years. The reductions aren't as deep as Gov. Tim Pawlenty proposed, but they are significantly greater than those approved by the Senate a week ago.

Rep. Doug Stang, chairman of the House Higher Education Finance Committee, challenged leaders of both institutions to refocus their missions as they deal with the cutbacks.

"This bill is difficult," said Stang, R-Cold Spring. But, he added, "We cannot afford to keep doing business as usual."

Rep. Jim Knoblach, R-St. Cloud, said even with big tuition increases Minnesota is "still going to be in the middle of the pack" in terms of college costs.

ADVERTISEMENT

But one Democrat after another voiced concerns about "suffocating" public colleges and "slamming the door on the generation behind us." House Minority Leader Matt Entenza of St. Paul said the proposal continues "the slow decay and neglect of our higher education institutions."

Under the bill, the university would get less state money in 2004 ($550 million) than it did in 1999 ($574 million), and those figures don't include inflation. The school received $616 million in 2003.

The erosion at MnSCU, a network of 34 public schools, would be similar.

Overall, the university and MnSCU would each get about $1.1 billion from the state over the next two years.

While the colleges get thumped, student aid programs wind up in decent shape. To help meet growing demand, the bill includes about $54 million in extra funding for the widely used State Grant program.

, which supports work study allowances and for child care subsidies.

Both House and Senate bills add new restrictions on grants, such as limiting full-time students to eight semesters of grants instead of the current 10.

Like the Senate bill, the House plan would punish students convicted of riot-related offenses by disqualifying them from state financial aid programs and making them pay nonresident tuition.

ADVERTISEMENT

The measure was a response to riots involving University of Minnesota students after the school won the NCAA men's hockey championship. No students involved in that incident would be subject to the new penalty.

What To Read Next
The Buffalo Bills safety who suffered a cardiac arrest on Monday Night Football in January is urging people to learn how to save lives the way his was saved.
Josh Sipes was watching an in-flight movie when he became aware the flight crew were asking for help assisting a woman who was experiencing a medical problem.
A Sanford doctor says moderate cold exposure could be the boost people need for their day.
Nonprofit hospitals are required to provide free or discounted care, also known as charity care; yet eligibility and application requirements vary across hospitals. Could you qualify? We found out.