With State Budget Undecided, UMD Will (So Far) See Tuition Increase

By KBJR News 1

June 20, 2011 Updated Jun 20, 2011 at 9:52 PM CDT

DULUTH, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - The lack of compromise at the state level is keeping universities from nailing down their own budget plans.

The University of Minnesota Board of Regents approve a preliminary budget today based on what they believe is the worst case scenario for cuts to higher education.

Unless universities get more state funding than expected, UMD's tuition will be raised and the pay freeze for employees continued.

The budget assumes the state will cut $10-million more than it did last year.

That means the state would be providing about 20 percent of the university's projected operating budget.

UMD plans to make-up about $5-million dollars of the difference with a five percent tuition increase.

UMD also offered incentives for faculty and staff to retire with 46 employees taking advantage of that, helping to fill the gap, as well as pushing staff to apply for more grants and get creative to cut spending.

With less and less of the budget coming from the state the past few years, one vice-chancellor at UMD says it makes it easier to absorb a government shutdown.

"If our total budget is roughly $140-million and the state's only providing $29-million for the entire year, there are ways that we can adjust what we're doing in terms of our budget to make sure that everything we promise students is available and that we can be up and running in the Fall," said Greg Fox, vice-chancellor of finance and operations at UMD.

The vice-chancellor says if a government shutdown lasted more than seven or eight months, only then would the school have to reconsider its options.

He says UMD will focus on retaining students with quality and accessibility of programs and affordability of attending the school.

If UMD gets more state funding than expected, the vice-chancellor says it most likely would go to financial aid for students and possibly to give faculty, who have been in a pay freeze, a boost .

Posted to Web by Jena Pike