Capital investment projects will take center stage for the higher education focus in 2018. The University of Minnesota and MinnState have already outlined their proposals for the coming session. With the potential of a new Higher Education Committee chair, there has been little discussion about Republican priorities. However, with the new accusations of sexual misconduct at the U, the Republicans may bring in U of M officials to discuss campus responses.
University of Minnesota
The University is requesting $238.5 million in capital funds from the Legislature this session to refurbish and renovate buildings on the Twin Cities and Greater Minnesota campuses. The U of M is currently not considering any policy changes or additional supplemental budget requests.
Higher Education Asset Preservation (HEAPR): $200 million for system-wide renovations
Great MN Academic Renewal: $10.5 million to renovate and renew obsolete classrooms and laboratories at Crookston, Duluth, and Morris campuses to enhance science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), humanities, and teacher education opportunities.
Pillsbury Hall: $24 million to renovate Pillsbury Hall, one of the Twin Cities campus’s oldest buildings. The renovation will provide modern teaching, learning and research spaces.
Glensheen Capital Renewal: $4 million to repair Glensheen Mansion in Duluth.
Minnesota State is requesting $224.5 million in capital requests for 2018, the bulk of it in Higher Education Asset Preservation (HEAPR) funds. MinnState also requests $10 million in supplemental budget appropriations and funds to replace its student record system.
Higher Education Asset Preservation (HEAPR): $130 million for HEAPR projects systemwide. MinnState notes this is the first time the HEAPR request has been more than its project requests.
Project Requests: $94.5 million for specific project requests at campuses across Minnesota to expand programs and renovate buildings.
Supplemental Budget Request: The additional $10 million would focus on improving student success and reducing educational disparities.
Student Record System Update: $21 million to fund NextGen, the central technology system for the 37 colleges and universities in the system.
Higher education funding
State higher education funding has dwindled the past few decades, with students and their families picking up more of college costs. A proposal to restore the student/state funding ratio to one-third (student)/two-thirds (state) over an eight-year (4 biennia) period may be introduced. Students currently pay about 57% of the cost and the state pays about 43% of the cost. Potential supplemental budget proposals would help sustain the MinnState budget to ensure students have access to quality higher education options.
Higher education institutions currently pay the materials costs for Post-Secondary Enrollment Options (PSEO). Because of the high price tag on materials, some PSEO students are being denied access to lab courses, etc. A proposal to have the state pay for PSEO materials is being suggested for this session.
Performance metric study
We want our students to succeed at and appreciate their higher education experience. This session may see legislation to study performance metrics best practices to determine if the method is useful for our higher education system and students.
Higher education reports
The following reports were mandated by the 2017 Legislature with due dates in 2018.
- Brief report regarding new concurrent enrollment courses developed by grant recipients that satisfy the elective standard for career and technical education, and the number of students who enrolled in the courses; and expanded existing programs, and the number of students who enrolled in them. (Office of Higher Education, 12/1/18)
- Report on the Office of Higher Education’s web site (and update at least annually) summary data on students who graduated from a Minnesota high school and are attending a public postsecondary institution in Minnesota, limited to the most recent academic school year. (Office of Higher Education, 2/15/18)
- Report on the details of the program to provide financial assistance to students with intellectual and developmental disabilities who attend a Minnesota postsecondary institution, broken out by postsecondary institution, including the number of students receiving an award; the average and total award amounts; and summary demographic data on award recipients. (Office of Higher Education 2/15/18)
- Report by alternative teacher preparation programs receiving grants under this section on the grantee’s ability to fill teacher shortage areas and positively impact student achievement where data are available and do not identify individual teachers. (Office of Higher Education, 1/31/18)
- Joint report on the progress of the activities of the statewide partnership, if established, of the Northwest Regional Partnership and the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit, for a concurrent enrollment teacher training program. (Various agencies and groups, including Office of Higher Education and Minnesota Department of Education, 1/15/18)