15 June 2011The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system will remain open this summer even if other parts of state government shut down July 1, system officials announced today.
Officials were notified Wednesday by Gov. Mark Dayton’s office that the system will receive the support needed from Minnesota Management and Budget to continue operations on July 1, even if other parts of state government shut down.
The governor’s petition to the state district court said that “operations of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities will continue based on its statutory and practical financial autonomy and its balance carry-over authority.”
Chancellor James H. McCormick thanked all officials who worked to assure the system’s continued operation. “We are deeply appreciative of the governor’s action to support uninterrupted instruction and services at the state colleges and universities,” McCormick said.
“This is a critical time for the 67,000 students taking summer session courses at our schools and for the tens of thousands of students preparing to enroll in the fall term.”
The action means that Management and Budget will provide payroll and other payment processing for the system. The higher education appropriations bill awaits resolution with other state operating budgets. The system already has statutory authority to use existing tuition and other receipts in the new fiscal year that starts on July 1.
Once the agreement is reached, it is expected that layoff notices that were sent to 6,000 Minnesota State Colleges and Universities employees will be rescinded and salaries and benefits to employees will continue.
The system’s continued operation through the summer term will be funded through tuition receipts and fund balances at each of the colleges and universities.
“Both the governor and Legislature have recognized the critical role that higher education has in fueling the state’s economy and improving the lives of all Minnesotans, and this will be welcome news for our students and our campuses” said Scott Thiss, chair of the system’s Board of Trustees.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system comprises 32 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The system serves about 277,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 157,000 students in non-credit courses.
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