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University of Minnesota asks state for nearly $1 billion

December 27, 2021 GMT

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Minnesota is asking legislators for almost $1 billion in funding next year.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Sunday that the $935 million request includes $473 million to upgrade infrastructure at five campuses; $185 million for campus security and sustainability projects, such as solar power generation; and $65 million to expand student scholarships.

The request comes with the state sitting on a historic $7.7 billion budget surplus as Minnesotans earn and spend more than expected during the COVID-19 pandemic. But Republican Jason Rarick, vice chairman of the state Senate’s higher education committee, sounded skeptical about the request.

He told the Star Tribune that he supports more money for scholarships and campus police but he wants to scrutinize administrator pay after regents earlier this month gave President Joan Gabel a new contract that increased her base salary from $650,000 to $660,000 with gives her another $46,000 raise next year. Students, staff and faculty objected to the raises.

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Rarick added that the University of Minnesota could have a tough time competing for dollars with Minnesota State System technical colleges, which he said might be able to produce more skilled workers.

The Minnesota State System includes 30 community colleges and seven universities. The system wants about $353 million from lawmakers next year.