The University of Minnesota has given an enthusiastic OK for a $1.18 billion biennial request to the Legislature that would trade increased funding for an undergraduate tuition freeze.

At a meeting Friday morning, the Board of Regents unanimously passed U President Eric Kaler's request, which also ties a small percentage of funding to the university meeting performance goals, such as increasing graduation rates.

"This budget reflects a new tone, a new commitment and a new conversation," said Regent Laura Brod. "And I think all three are welcome."

Unlike most requests, which are "about what we want, not about what you’re going to do," this promises specifics, she said.

In total, the U is asking for $91.6 million more, an 8.4 percent bump over the current biennium. A portion of that, a $14.2 million increase over each of the two years, would be linked to a tuition freeze for in-state undergraduates.

U officials say the proposed legislative request would bring state funding to its 2001 level, without adjusting for inflation.

Regent Clyde Allen said that the university is just asking for a small portion back of what's been cut in recent years. In exchange, it promises a tuition freeze.

"That is a bargain," he said.