ST. PAUL (AP) -- A Senate panel endorsed a two-year, $277 million higher-education funding increase, more than doubling the amount of increased funding recommended by Gov. Jesse Ventura.
Approved Thursday, the proposal would pump an additional $135 million into the University of Minnesota and $127 million into the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system. That compared to the $99 million total increase recommended three months ago by Ventura.
University of Minnesota and MnSCU officials said the omnibus finance bill would be distinguished further by its attention to the range of initiatives desired by the higher-education systems.
"It's a good bill," said Richard Pfutzenreuter, associate vice president of the University of Minnesota. "They touched upon just about every priority the university had."
Said Laura King, vice chancellor for finance for MnSCU, "I think it's very well done. It recognizes the places where we have pressures, and challenges us as well."
The bill was crafted by the Senate Higher Education Budget Division, a subcommittee of the Senate Education Committee, which is expected to approve it Monday. The Senate Finance Committee will vote on it Tuesday.
If approved by the full Senate, the spending plan would be subject to conference-committee negotiations with the House, which was scheduled to begin assembling its omnibus bill Friday and has proposed a $165 million higher-ed increase.
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