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Governor Tim Pawlenty

On Tuesday, Governor Pawlenty proposed funding 84 percent of the University's biennial request. Now the University and the legislature have to do their part.

Governor recommends $113 million in new funding for the University

By David Ruth

Published on January 26, 2005

On Tuesday, January 25, Governor Tim Pawlenty unveiled his biennial budget proposal for 2006-2007, and University of Minnesota officials received the answer they were looking for in their 50-50 partnership offer to the state: "Yes."

Although Pawlenty's plan does not cover the full request, the University received 84 percent of the dollars it asked for. The money would go towards biosciences, attracting and retaining talent, and research support.

The total amount of new funding for the University in the governor's budget is $113 million, $7.5 million of which will be used towards a University-Mayo Clinic collaborative research partnership.

University President Robert Bruininks applauded the governor's budget Tuesday saying, "Governor Pawlenty has done a great service to all Minnesotans by recommending a substantial funding increase for the University of Minnesota."

Although Bruininks was pleased with yesterday's outcome, he stresses that there is still hard work to do. "Besides the legislature having to take up the governor's proposal, the University has its part to do in this agreement," he says. The University's part of the deal will be to find ways to reallocate approximately $15 million in each year and institute a tuition increase of 5.5 percent.

"Tuition increases are never easy," says Bruininks. "However, after suffering through budget cuts and double-digit increases in tuition the past few years, 5.5 percent should be much more manageable for students."

According to Bruininks, the good news for students is also the retention and recruiting of quality faculty and staff. "Students will benefit in the classroom," he says. "They have wonderful professors here and we need to maintain them and become more competitive in recruiting."

Bruininks has been talking a lot recently of the University's aspiration to be one of the world's top three public research universities and pointing out that the University has brought in more than $520 million in sponsored research awards. U.S. Department of Commerce statistics show that 39 jobs are created for every $1 million spent on university-based research. "Minnesota is in an enviable position of having one of the top research universities in the nation," Bruininks says. "We thank the governor for recognizing the importance of the University to the state."