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Liz Navratil

Higher education reporter | Higher Education
Phone: 612-673-4994

Liz Navratil covers higher education for the Star Tribune. She spent the previous three years covering Minneapolis City Hall as leaders responded to the coronavirus pandemic and George Floyd’s murder.

Navratil worked in Pennsylvania, where she covered state government and crime – and sometimes both at once. She was part of teams that won the Pulitzer Prize for Breaking News in 2019 and 2021.
Recent content from Liz Navratil
University of Minnesota regents, pictured here at a meeting this summer with former President Joan Gabel, are considering creating a new panel to revi

University of Minnesota regents consider new panel to review presidential conflicts

The discussion comes one year after the regents faced criticism for allowing then-President Joan Gabel to join the board of a company that had business with the U.
Lisa Sayles-Adams listens to a question during the meet-and-greet preceding her interview with the Minneapolis Public Schools board.

How new superintendent Lisa Sayles-Adams won over Minneapolis school board

School officials across the Twin Cities area say the newly selected MPS leader has shown calm under pressure in challenging situations.
University of Minnesota Prof. Ann Masten’s work has helped shape a wide array of public policies aimed at finding ways to intervene after trauma occ

University of Minnesota professor wins award for work on the resilience of children

Prof. Ann Masten won the Grawemeyer Award for work that helped shape policies for responding to trauma.
A judge on Friday approved a deal that will require the University of Minnesota to pay more than $3 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it should hav

Thousands of U students to receive refunds for pandemic-era fees

Students can expect to receive $38 to $40 each after the university settled a lawsuit arguing it should have given larger reimbursements after COVID-19 shut down campus.
Lisa Sayles-Adams made her opening statement to the Minneapolis school board on Wednesday night. Sayles-Adams is one of the two finalists to be superi

Lisa Sayles-Adams, longtime Twin Cities school leader, makes case for Minneapolis superintendent job

The superintendent of Eastern Carver County Schools took questions from the public before a two-hour interview with the board about her leadership style, experience and priorities.
Leaders at North Dakota State University feared Minnesota’s new free college tuition program could have “catastrophic implications” for their en

Minnesota started offering free public college tuition. Now North Dakota State University is, too.

The competition for students is intensifying, as some schools worry they'll lose Minnesotans who qualify for the North Star Promise.
Students in protective suits evaluated a mock crime scene at Hamline University, where assistant professor Jamie Spaulding calls his students out in t

These Hamline University students want to become forensic investigators. One night will test them.

The victims have been found. The evidence has been dropped. These staged murders are ready to be solved.
Rep. Gene Pelowski, DFL-Winona, center, who chairs the House higher education committee, has told both public university systems that there are no gua

Minnesota State colleges, universities seek $541 million in state funding for construction

Trustees are also considering asking for an additional $61 million to help cover system operations, money that would largely go toward tackling inflation.
Bemidji State University formerly attracted more than 4,000 students. Now the regional public university in the Minnesota State system — the only of

Bemidji State University has 'zero margin for error' after enrollment declines force cuts

A stronger job market, skepticism of college and lower birth rates led to enrollment drops nationwide, and regional public universities have been hit hard.
Students, from left, Araiza Maldonado Basilio, Alexa Velasquez Mendoza, and Leslie Sandoval Reyes, open letters informing them what Minnesota colleges

Minnesota's Direct Admissions program is changing how students apply to college

Some schools are forgoing their traditional applications in hopes of reducing stress for students and their own staff.
People protested outside of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C., this summer as the justices struck down affirmative action. The court limited

The Supreme Court limited colleges' ability to consider race. Why are schools still asking about it?

Minnesota college leaders say they need the demographics for other reasons, and they're hiding race information from admissions officers.
St. Cloud-based CentraCare and the University of Minnesota are partnering on a new medical school campus in St. Cloud.

U Regents approve St. Cloud medical school campus agreement, launch $50M campaign

The agreement lays out plans for the partnership with CentraCare but is contingent on final business plans, expected to be presented later this year.
The University of Minnesota is asking state lawmakers for an additional $500 million to cover repairs and upgrades at aging buildings scattered across

University of Minnesota asks state for $500 million to fix old buildings

The U will also ask for $45 million to cover additional expenses.
The University of Minnesota and Macalester College, above, are among a growing number of schools changing their application questions in response to t

Minnesota colleges change application questions after affirmative action ruling

The University of Minnesota and Macalester College are among the schools trying to boost diversity without running afoul of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
Antonina Anikina spent years training both elite athletes and novices, whom she affectionately called her “snow roses.”

Antonina Anikina, ski coach in United States and Russia, dies at 89

While her roster included elite athletes, Anikina also spoke fondly of the Nordic skiing novices she referred to as 'snow roses.'
Federal student loan payments are set to resume in October after a three-year pause during the coronavirus pandemic.

Student loan payments resume in October. Here's how Minnesotans can prepare.

More than 800,000 Minnesotans have federal student loan debt worth a combined $27 billion.
The task force will be led by Jan Malcolm, who retired earlier this year as Minnesota’s health commissioner.

Walz names members of task force on future of U of M health system

The group faces a January deadline for providing recommendations about U programs, including its medical school.
The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, pictured in 2020.

Data breach affects applicants, students and employees at U of M between 1989 and 2021

The data obtained included dates of birth, Social Security numbers and passport information, according to a news release from the University of Minnesota.
Hamline University, a private school in St. Paul, found itself at the center of a fierce debate over academic freedom and religious tolerance after a

Judge dismisses part of lawsuit by ex-Hamline instructor who showed Prophet Muhammad images

The portion of Erika López Prater's case alleging religious discrimination will be allowed to proceed.
Hamline University in St. Paul found itself at the center of a debate over academic freedom and religious tolerance after a student raised concerns af

Minnesota professors begin new year amid academic freedom debate: 'Treading on eggshells'

Hamline University, which was at the center of a controversy last fall, is hosting a forum on the topic this week.
The University of Minnesota will pay more than $200,000 to search for a new president. In this photos, regents discussed qualities in an interim leade

University of Minnesota will pay more than $200,000 to search for new president

Costs reported so far are comparable to the ones from past searches.
James Schmidt was a combination of exhausted from missing naptime and hot from the high 90s temperatures as he leaned on his mom Julie Schmidt’s sho

Twin Cities and Duluth tie heat records set a century ago

Some of the state's largest public schools sent out tips for battling heat as students prepare to return to classrooms Tuesday.
New students in the University of St. Thomas’ Dougherty Family College listened as Tariah Loreese, a second-year student, provided them with tips on

Overcoming pandemic setbacks: How Minnesota colleges are helping freshmen thrive

New orientation programs are geared toward helping students recover from pandemic learning losses.
President Alison Byerly, center, announced Thursday that Carleton College will no longer consider applicants’ ties to alumni. She’s pictured here

Carleton College ends legacy admissions after affirmative action ruling

After the U.S. Supreme Court limited the consideration of race in admissions, some people pushed schools to also stop considering an applicant's ties to alumni or donors.
A lawsuit alleges that the University of Minnesota knew or should have known about security measures that would have prevented the data breach or limi

University of Minnesota faces lawsuit over potentially massive data breach

State and federal officials are investigating a hacker's claims to have accessed more than 7 million Social Security numbers dating back to 1989.
Morgan Piper Cordova paints one of the boats that will transport him and his classmates along the Mississippi River. Augsburg University’s River Sem

Forget study abroad. These college students will spend the semester on the Mississippi River.

Augsburg University's River Semester program sends students, sailing, paddling and camping along one of the nation's most famous waterways.
The University of Minnesota could pay more than $3 million to settle a lawsuit challenging whether students should have received larger reimbursements

University of Minnesota could pay more than $3M to end lawsuit over student fees

Students who were enrolled in the spring of 2020 would receive checks of $38 to $40, if the deal gets final approval.
Interim President Jeff Ettinger will lead the University of Minnesota for about one year.

Jeff Ettinger will oversee the University of Minnesota for a year. Here's what's on his agenda.

While some tasks will be left for the next president, others have deadlines Ettinger will have to contend with.
The University of Minnesota is investigating a data breach from a month ago.

University of Minnesota investigating a data breach

University officials said affected data is from 2021 and earlier, but didn't describe the scope.
Student worker Leah Wasson, left, led a group of prospective students on a campus tour at Macalester College in St. Paul in June.

Will court ruling undo diversity progress at Minnesota's most selective colleges?

College leaders say affirmative action isn't the only tool to boost diversity.
Admissions officers at the University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus said they will stop considering applicants’ race or relationships with alu

U Twin Cities admissions won't consider race, legacy ties

The change comes on the heels of a polarizing U.S. Supreme Court decision that drew renewed attention to both practices.
University of Minnesota officials on Wednesday outlined the steps they’re taking to boost safety in advance of the next school year.

University of Minnesota takes steps to boost campus safety

Public safety was a talking point at the Legislature, and the U received additional funding for those programs.
President Suzanne Rivera said Macalester College considers a student’s ties to the school, including whether a relative attended, but it affects “

After affirmative action ruling for colleges, the next fight is over legacy admissions

Minnesota colleges are divided over the practice of giving a boost to relatives of alumni and donors.
Student worker Leah Wasson, second from left, led a group of prospective students on a campus tour at Macalester College in St. Paul last week. Colleg

States without affirmative action offer lessons for Minnesota's campus diversity efforts

Universities in California and Michigan saw drops in diversity after affirmative action bans — and the rebound has been uneven.
The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday rejected a Biden administration plan that would have canceled billions of dollars in student loan debt.

What borrowers should know after Supreme Court canceled student loan relief plan

Regular loan payments, which had been paused during the pandemic, begin again in October.
Anthony Tabura, at his new job at SRF Consulting in St. Paul on Friday. Tabura, a recent graduate of the U, is working to pay off $27,000 of student l

Minnesotans re-evaluate finances after student loan relief rejected

The Supreme Court ruling on the Biden administration plan came a couple of months before borrowers are set to resume payments that had been paused during the pandemic.
A police officer watches as student loan borrowers and advocates gather for the People’s Rally to Cancel Student Debt during Supreme Court hearings

How has student loan debt impacted you? Share your story

The Supreme Court has ruled the Biden administration overstepped its authority in trying to cancel or reduce student loan debt, effectively killing the $400 billion…
University of Minnesota officials say they will be looking closely at the Supreme Court’s ruling and how it could affect their “holistic” admiss

Supreme Court says considering race in college admissions is unconstitutional

Minnesota colleges had been bracing for the ruling on affirmative action and emphasizing their commitment to diversity on campus.
University of Minnesota students will pay more in tuition and fees under a budget approved Monday by the system’s Board of Regents.

University of Minnesota students to pay more in tuition, fees next school year

Regents unanimously approved the new budget Monday, with some saying they hope to reduce costs in the future.
Minnesota State leaders on Wednesday chose Anita Hanson as president of the Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College and named Kenneth Janz the interim

Minnesota State picks leaders for Winona State University, Fond du Lac Tribal & Community College

Current Winona State University President Scott Olson will become the system's chancellor in August.
The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, pictured in 2020. Some students will soon have their tuition covered through a new state program.

How will Minn.'s free college tuition program work? Here's what families should know.

After years of failed attempts, state lawmakers approved a bill to create a free tuition program for some students.
U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland on Friday presented the findings of a two-year investigation into Minneapolis Police Department practices.

Justice Department finds pattern of discriminatory policing in Mpls.

The Minneapolis Police Department routinely engaged in a pattern of racist and abusive behavior, according to a Justice Department investigation. The city will now begin negotiating a court-enforceable consent decree.
Here are the four key findings in the federal probe of the Minneapolis Police Department

Here are the four key findings in the federal probe of the Minneapolis Police Department

The report marks the beginning of what is likely to be a long process requiring the city to make more changes.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to decide soon on two cases related to student debt forgiveness.

When do Minnesotans start repaying student loans? Here's what borrowers should know

Many borrowers are anxiously awaiting a U.S. Supreme Court decision about whether some of their debt can be forgiven.
Outgoing University of Minnesota President Joan Gabel wiped a tear Friday as she prepared to deliver her final report to the Board of Regents.

President Joan Gabel works final day with University of Minnesota

Gabel is leaving to take another job. Former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger will take over as interim president on Saturday.
Former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger, who has been picked to serve as interim president of the University of Minnesota, talks with outgoing President Joan

U regents to meet to finalize details of presidential transition

Current President Joan Gabel is leaving to take another job. Former Hormel CEO Jeff Ettinger will serve as interim president.
The University of Minnesota revised criteria for a research program amid complaints from some conservatives who argued it discriminated against white

U alters summer research program after complaints of discrimination against white students

Some conservatives argued the program discriminated against white students.
Belmar Gunderson is pictured playing tennis in 1975, when she was the women’s athletic director at the University of Minnesota

Belmar Gunderson, the 'mother of women's intercollegiate athletics' at University of Minnesota, dies

Gunderson is credited with boosting women's sports programs at a time when most of the resources went to men.
Hamline University in St. Paul found itself at the center of a fierce debate over academic freedom and religious tolerance after a student raised conc

New report assails Hamline University's handling of Islamic art controversy

The university didn't immediately respond to the report from the American Association of University Professors, but footnotes indicate it disputed some of the report's findings.
Students walk through the skyway of Metropolitan State University in St. Paul.

Minnesota State will allow schools to raise fees despite tuition freeze

Trustees approved the changes Wednesday. Student organizations are divided over them.
Hamline University, a private school in St. Paul, found itself at the center of a fierce debate over academic freedom and religious tolerance after a

Lawsuit against Hamline University raises questions about religious discrimination law

The case was brought by a former art history instructor who showed images of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
Janet Schrunk Ericksen will stay on as chancellor at the University of Minnesota’s Morris campus.

Janet Schrunk Ericksen named chancellor of University of Minnesota's Morris campus

Ericksen led the campus through multiple challenges over the past two years.
The new state program would cover public college tuition costs for students from families making under $80,000 a year.

Legislature passes higher ed bill with free tuition program

Minnesota students from families making under $80,000 annually would qualify for the new free tuition program.
The Minnesota State system of colleges and universities on Tuesday chose one of the system’s presidents as its next chancellor. Winona State Univers

Winona State's Olson named next chancellor of Minnesota State colleges, universities

Trustees chose Olson on Tuesday over Tonjanita Johnson, an administrator in the University of Alabama system.
Jeff Ettinger interviewed before the University of Minnesota regents for the position of interim president Monday in Minneapolis.

University of Minnesota regents select Jeff Ettinger to be interim president

The former congressional candidate and Hormel CEO will take over later this year, if contract negotiations go as expected.
University of Minnesota regents vote on the job description for the interim president during a special meeting last month.

University of Minnesota regents select 4 finalists for interim president

Board Chair Janie Mayeron has said hiring an interim leader is the group's "most immediate priority."
Robyn Gulley was photographed by her daughter, Norah, after she and Mary Turner, rear, were selected to serve as University of Minnesota regents. The

New U regents selected as interim president pick nears

Rep. Gene Pelowski said lawmakers wanted "a new vision" on the board as it prepares to make crucial decisions about the U's future.
The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, pictured in 2020. Graduate student workers are voting this week on whether to form a union.

University of Minnesota graduate assistants vote to form union

Students who supported the effort wanted higher pay and stronger worker protections.
The University of Minnesota’s Twin Cities campus, pictured in 2020. Graduate student workers are voting this week on whether to form a union.

University of Minnesota graduate student workers vote this week on whether to form union

Students leading the union drive say they want higher pay and better worker protections.
Tonjanita Johnson, senior vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at the University of Alabama System, and Scott Olson, president of Winona S

Minnesota State system names two chancellor finalists

The next chancellor will take over for Devinder Malhotra, who will retire from the college system in August.
The mansion called Eastcliff has served as the home for eight University of Minnesota presidents.

U to rent presidential mansion to state for governor's temporary home

Regents approved the deal during a meeting Monday afternoon.
University of St. Thomas student Sophia Huber records a video as Olivia Russell interviews Kaylee Olson, a fellow student, for a TikTok on why she cho

Older adults don't know TikTok. Gen Z does, and they're taking over college recruiting videos

The videos by Minnesota students provide a glimpse of campus life, right on prospective classmates' phones.
University of Minnesota regents vote on the job description for interim president. They met for a special meeting Thursday, their first since Presiden

University of Minnesota regents outline wish list for President Joan Gabel's successor

Regents are looking for an interim president for the first time in more than two decades.
Kathleen Linaker

Kathleen Linaker to become next president of Riverland Community College

Linaker will succeed Adenuga Atewologun, who is retiring.
A file photo of Ken Powell, chair of the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents, at a Friday, June 10, 2022 in Minneapolis, Minn.

U regents change leaders, call special session on presidential search

Chair Ken Powell said he was stepping down from his leadership role "to support continuity of leadership for this board."
Students chanted, held signs and posed for pictures in support of campus diversity Oct. 20, 2022 in Morris.

Report outlines steps for U of M to repair relationship with tribes

The U stopped shy of saying whether it would adopt the report's recommendations.
Minnesota’s two public university systems are both searching for new leaders. Joan Gabel, left, will leave her post as the University of Minnesota p

Minnesota State and U search for new leaders at critical time

U President Joan Gabel is leaving to take a job in Pittsburgh. Minnesota State Chancellor Devinder Malhotra is retiring.
Hamline University President Fayneese Miller said Monday said that the university did not infringe on the academic freedom of a professor whose contra

Months after controversy over Islamic artwork, Hamline president plans to retire

Miller became school's second female president in 2015. Last days will be in summer of 2024.
Joan Gabel shakes hands after being announced as the University of Pittsburgh’s 19th chancellor, Monday, April 3, 2023, in Pittsburgh.

U President Joan Gabel leaving for University of Pittsburgh

Gabel will be the first female chancellor for the Pennsylvania university.
Hugo Morales, front, teaches a course that prepares students to repair and maintain supermarket refrigeration systems. The Minnesota State system of c

Who repairs the supermarket fridge? Minnesota colleges seek funding to train for in-demand jobs

Minnesota State is seeking more state funding to help boost workforce development programs like this.
University of Minnesota Budget Director Julie Tonneson, center, appeared before the Minnesota House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee earl

Minnesota colleges poised to get millions in extra funding but not everything they want

University of Minnesota and Minnesota State leaders say they need more money to freeze tuition for some students, but they've faced pointed questions from legislators.
Minnesota State University Moorhead names new president

Minnesota State University Moorhead names new president

The system's board of trustees approved the selection of Timothy Downs.
Marsha Danielson, president of Minnesota State College Southeast.

Minnesota State College Southeast president reprimanded, ordered to pay more than $5,000 in restitution

College head Marsha Danielson declined to comment.
University of Minnesota Budget Director Julie Tonneson sat in front of the Minnesota House Higher Education Finance and Policy Committee on Thursday t

University of Minnesota provides new details on tuition shortfall

State lawmakers sought more information about the causes of the shortfall as they prepare to negotiate budget figures.
The University of Minnesota is on track to purchase nearly 750 acres of land in Mower County, roughly half the amount it needs to build a new complex

U buys land in Mower County for new farming project

The purchase will give the university about half the land it needs for a new Future of Advanced Agricultural Research Minnesota (FAARM) center.