MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Employees at the University of Minnesota could absorb a wage freeze and some students could see a nearly 15 percent tuition increase to make up for cuts in state funding, university officials said.
University President Robert Bruininks told the Board of Regents on Friday that he expects a state cut of $209 million for the 2004-2005 year.
"Something of this magnitude and size cannot be done without shared sacrifice," he said. "We are going to ask a lot of people in the next year or two."
Bruininks said that while tuition and fees might go up as much as 14.5 percent next year on the Twin Cities campus -- that would take average undergraduate tuition and fees from $6,280 this year to about $7,190 next year -- increases at other campuses would probably be smaller.
Handling the shortfall through layoffs alone would mean getting rid of 1,709 faculty and staff members, Bruininks said. Fixing it through tuition would mean a 30-percent increase next year. Instead, he said, the university will spread cuts around the system.
His plan calls for filling half the funding deficit with a tuition increase to raise $120 million to $140 million over two years. Another $70 million to $85 million would be recouped in administrative and operating cost cuts, and $30 to $45 million would be saved through targeted eliminations, reductions and consolidations. Roughly $10 to $15 million would be raised in new revenue.
Legislative decisions on university funding aren't expected until May. But regents will vote in June on a budget that begins July 1, so Bruininks said the school has to design its budget based on Gov. Tim Pawlenty's recommendations.
Officials said Friday that the governor's budget cuts the university's base funding by $179 million. His proposal to shift $30 million from the university to the State Grant Program brings the total cut in funding for 2004-05 to $209 million. That's a cut of about 15 percent in state funding.
Allison Rhody, chairwoman of student representatives to the regents, told the board that the university risks pricing some campuses that are near colleges in other states, such as Duluth and Crookston, out of the market. It is cheaper for Minnesota students to go the University of Wisconsin's Superior campus than it is to attend Duluth, she said.
Bruininks said he did not want to freeze wages for some 17,000 employees for more than a year for fear of being unfair to employees and raising the likelihood of losing excellent faculty members. Veterinary Prof. Daniel Feeney, who leads a key faculty committee, said faculty members know "it's rather unrealistic to expect a pay raise" next year.
Contracts with many unions at the university run out June 30. Gladys McKenzie, senior business representative for about 3,500 university clerical, technical and health care workers, said a freeze "should be way, way, way down on the university agenda."
The university already went through a budget-balancing round this year after Pawlenty cut $25 million. The equivalent of 29 faculty positions and 110 staff positions were cut, most of them open positions. Spending was also cut for technology, staff development and publications, and the College of Continuing Education closed a satellite facility in Edina.
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