Higher education funding has been short-changed since Republicans took control of the Legislature in 2017. Instead of adequately funding higher education, Republicans want to force our higher education institutions to cut corners, close programs, and lay off the people who make our education system the envy of the nation.
Representatives from MinnState and the University of Minnesota gave overviews of their 2020 capital investment requests to the members of the Higher Education Committee this week. Both systems are heavily focused on their bonding requests after a $440 million bill failed to pass last session. Governor Walz has proposed nearly $490 million for higher education infrastructure this session, but it is unclear as to what the Republican Senate will put forward – though it is likely to be considerably lower than the governor’s proposal, despite the growing needs on campuses across the state.
The University of Minnesota is requesting funds to replace the Child Development building on the Twin Cities campus, a renovation of the A.B. Anderson Hall on the Duluth campus, an upgrade to an outdated chemistry undergraduate teaching lab, and funding for a clinical research facility. MinnState is requesting funds for 16 different priority projects on campuses around the state.
No action was taken on either request; final decisions on bonding requests will be made later in the legislative session. DFLers will be advocating for necessary and target investments in our higher education institutions across the state. Left unaddressed, these serious needs will continue to be barriers to learning and educational excellence.