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Legislative News and Views - Rep. Gene Pelowski, Jr. (DFL)

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LEGISLATORS CALL FOR MNSCU SYSTEM REFORM

Monday, March 14, 2011
(ST. PAUL) – State Representatives Jeanne Poppe (DFL-Austin) and Gene Pelowski (DFL-Winona) today introduced legislation that would limit salaries and bonus payments to top MnSCU administrators, with the goal of driving limited resources to the classroom. “When MnSCU students have experienced 70 to 90 percent tuition increases and MnSCU employees face layoffs, it is unconscionable for the system’s administrators to receive large bonuses," said Representative Poppe. Noting that the chancellor’s base salary has risen from $197,000 in 2000 to $360,000 in 2010, Poppe called on the MnSCU system to cut costs through innovations and shared services. The bill, HF1108, also instructs MnSCU to perform a comprehensive systemwide evaluation and develop recommendations for improved effectiveness and increased efficiency. “This legislation helps keep Minnesota’s promise of affordable higher education for everyone,” said Poppe. “MnSCU needs to look internally and find efficiencies that streamline how it functions.” From 2001 to 2011, tuition has increased 70% at colleges and 90% at universities. “Student debt is rising at an unsustainable rate,” said Representative Pelowski. “The increased cost to students is pricing them out of a higher education degree.” “The state can only afford for the MnSCU system to have one level of administration, not two,” said Pelowski, comparing Minnesota’s two higher education systems. The University of Minnesota system and Twin Cities campus are overseen by a single President. The MnSCU system is overseen by a single chancellor, while each campus has a president. “Excessive administrative costs weigh heavily on the MnSCU budget,” said Pelowski. The bill was referred to the House Higher Education Policy and Finance committee where it awaits a hearing. -30-
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