Chancellor Steven Rosenstone has come up with a three-pronged strategy to save the Minnesota State colleges and university system from a looming financial crisis.
The plan, presented Tuesday, calls for:
• New strategies for raising revenue, such as more customized training programs for industry, increasing enrollment and more private fundraising for scholarships and other programs.
• Cutting administrative and other costs by nearly $40 million a year.
• Asking the state of Minnesota to provide more financial support after 20 years of declining funding. In Tuesday’s report to the board of trustees, Rosenstone noted that state spending on higher education has dropped 29 percent since 1995, after inflation, and as a result, “we trail the nation.”
Earlier this year, officials warned that Minnesota State’s public colleges and universities face a dire financial future and could run deficits of $66 million to $475 million a year by 2025. “We all agree this path is unsustainable,” said Michael Vekich, chairman of the board of trustees. “It’s absolutely essential that we act … and we must act now.”
Kevin Lindstrom, president of the Minnesota State College Faculty, said he was encouraged by the report, especially because Rosenstone had incorporated some faculty suggestions for addressing the problems. “I think this sets the stage for a constructive conversation,” he said.