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Tuesday Talk: How will higher education cuts impact Minnesota?

March 29, 2011 By Joe Sheeran, Communications Director

Conservatives are looking to cut higher education funding by at least 14 percent. This is in addition to years of higher education defunding. According to University of Minnesota President Robert Bruininks, “the damage will be statewide and permanent.” Higher education officials say legislative proposals could lead to the elimination of some academic programs.

How will deep higher education cuts impact Minnesota’s economy and future prosperity?

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  • herbert a. davis says:

    March 29, 2011 at 8:25 am

    We are on our way down to the level of the highly christianized states like Alabama and Texas. Thank the Bishops and the MCCL…this isn’t just about greed and class warfare, this is aimed at destroying the rational/secular government!

    Imagine Gov.Emmer and President Pawlenty.

  • KJC says:

    March 29, 2011 at 8:46 am

    I’m going to say things that are little more speculative today.  But?  It does relate to current political tactics and trends, so I’ll stick to that.
    I am deeply concerned.  In addition to the huge funding cuts, this legislation also caps tuition. 
    I do not think this deliberate “squeeze” is accidental, do you?  Yes, it’s the old “wreck the revenues first” plan, creating/exaggerating a crisis… and then use that stress to Get What We Want, under the guise of “we have no choice.”
    The plan seems deeply in motion here (apparently encouraged by what happened in Wisconson) so what might the ultimate aim be, of this “use the crisis we made worse” plan?
    This is speculation, I can’t “prove it” in the usual sense that I do when I write.  Ready?  It’s straight from the right wing agenda of the last 30 years, that which shows up repeatedly:
    Privatize.  Destroy the public education system, by crippling it financially, so it can be called a failure, and then begin turning this function over to private industry.  I would be less concerned except the known results are: the rate of default on student loans, the placement rate, etc with many of these private schools are often very substandard.  We get a far better value (cost and outcomes/results) as taxpayers, with the public system. 
    How would you get a basis for saying this?  Just look at the huge lobbying campaign recently launched by the private higher education industry recently, when it was suggested that federal loans might be restricted to schools with very high student default rates.  Instead of being for “accountability” there was a massive attack to beat back the regulation.
    Yes, the “diploma mills” didn’t want to have their ability to: “sell ‘em, get ‘em loans from the government so they can get paid, then spit ‘em out without jobs… we’ve got our money, who cares… and then move on to do to it the next batch” get more regulated.  Yes, the same cries that are always against “big government” like it just fine when it provides the student loans that are their revenue stream.  And to have some accountability if the default rate indicates the student aren’t getting jobs with those diplomas?  Now we don’t like the government.  Let’s be clear what the net stance is, on the face of it:  we want government money for the student loans, but we don’t want government regulation if the default rates are way too high.
    How can anybody defend that?  You can’t, so convoluted language will be used. 
    The public education system is one of the most valuable assets this country has.  Period.  It is clearly under attack by right wing forces.  What would you call what happened in Wisconsin? And now they’ve defied the judge’s order not to post the legislation. 
    If citizens stand by while the same old “privatize the gains, socialize the losses” game plays out yet again?  This time the illusion perpetrated that they personally somehow won’t be affected?  It won’t take long to be shattered… in less then a generation, whether you’re a student, parent, citizen and/or taxpayer your future, our mutual future, will be diminished.
    What to do?  Speak up to the decision makers, your elected officials… spend a percentage of available time that way, as would befit “WE THE PEOPLE.”
    P.S. I am an optimist by nature, you have no idea how painful it was for me to write this.  We can’t have a great future by kidding ourselves about the nature of our challenges…

  • ej says:

    March 29, 2011 at 8:59 am

    maybe we should cut all of there budget so there is only a few people making decision, cut there salary and perks.

  • herbert a. davis says:

    March 29, 2011 at 9:15 am


    Those who fail to exhibit positive attitudes, no matter the external reality, are seen as maladjusted and in need of assistance. Their attitudes need correction. Once we adopt an upbeat vision of reality, positive things will happen. This belief encourages us to flee from reality when reality does not elicit positive feelings. These specialists in “happiness” have formulated something they call the “Law of Attraction.” It argues that we attract those things in life, whether it is money, relationships or employment, which we focus on. Suddenly, abused and battered wives or children, the unemployed, the depressed and mentally ill, the illiterate, the lonely, those grieving for lost loved ones, those crushed by poverty, the terminally ill, those fighting with addictions, those suffering from trauma, those trapped in menial and poorly paid jobs, those whose homes are in foreclosure or who are filing for bankruptcy because they cannot pay their medical bills, are to blame for their negativity. The ideology justifies the cruelty of unfettered capitalism, shifting the blame from the power elite to those they oppress. And many of us have internalized this pernicious message, which in times of difficulty leads to personal despair, passivity and disillusionment.
    Chris Hedges

  • Bernice Vetsch says:

    March 29, 2011 at 9:25 am

    England’s prime minister is making cuts even more drastic than we see here.  Hundreds of libraries and several large research hospitals will close.  Spending on higher ed will go to zero for all programs in the humanities and social sciences. Social services won’t be decimated, but will be significantly reduced.  (No ideology visible there!)

    So why is Mr. Cameron doing this?  He expects that, once he has eliminated their deficit by making these “hard” decisions, the English economy will explode with investment, development and good jobs. 

    So can it be that Minnesota’s right-wing legislators ACTUALLY BELIEVE, like Mr. Cameron, that our economy, too, will explode?  Too bad about those people dying on the street, but these hard decisions are unavoidable you know, as “we have a spending problem, not a revenue problem.”

  • myles spicer says:

    March 29, 2011 at 9:32 am

    This goes way beyond our state’s higher education viability, it goes to our nation’s future competitiveness in the 21st century.

    Those conservatives with their constant mantra of “love of country” have no idea about the long term damage they are inflicting on America be defunding our colleges and universities. We are slowly, but steadily, sliding down the slope of inferior higher education. By almost any measure, America is now down the list of advanced degrees and needed skill sets for the future.  Many countries now find creative ways to get their brightest and best through higher education in ways that range from free to affordable.

    We are now in a period when college is pretty much unaffordable for many who desire to attend.  The effects of this may not be felt or apparent for years—but it is virtually inevitable.

  • HMC says:

    March 29, 2011 at 10:23 am

    I’m not sure how “slow” the slide down the slippery slope is, in fact. We have known since the mid-eighties that America’s higher education system was in drastic need of repair, when contrasted with other highly industrialized countries. Cuts are certainly not the answer, though they are increasingly popular with politicians who can see no farther than the ends of their noses.
    But one must wonder, for the sake of argument, why when cuts are discussed those with sharp scissors ignore athletics, where millions of dollars are spent every year on “scholarships” for a large number of students who never graduate and where the number of sports runs as high as 33 (at Princeton) and elsewhere generally as high as two dozen. Surely there are legitimate values to be gained through sports, and while many of these values can be tied to defensible educational goals, it is not clear why the expenditure needs to be so excessive.
    But it is certainly the case, as a general rule, that cuts are a short-term solution that ignores completely the long run consequences—especially since history shows that the cuts will come in instructional areas.

  • ej says:

    March 29, 2011 at 10:33 am

    get rid of summer school,its a baby sitting school for the summer,and also cut superidents salary in half and make them pay for oil changes and ect,the supt should not make more money than president.

  • KJC says:

    March 29, 2011 at 10:49 am

    Bernice:  Thanks for speaking up.  And?  I do not accept this as “inevitable.”
    Any problem made by man, can be solved by man.  Being cynical and/or resigned, while acting like that’s “smart” isn’t going to solve anything either… that’s just more of the same.
    I am reminded of that saying “All that is required for the triumph of evil is for good men (and women) to do nothing.” 
    There are too many good people in our great country doing that proverbial nothing in the face maintaining the Common Good in the face of our biggest challenges in over 50 years.  I don’t accept that it’s somehow “smart” to sit in The Stands (and merely have an negative opinion) when our democracy defines the role of our citizens as On the Court “playing.”  It’s WE THE PEOPLE, that begins the preamble..
    Earthquakes and volcanoes are “inevitable,” Hitler wasn’t..

  • ej says:

    March 29, 2011 at 10:58 am

    i should know i worked in robbinsdale school dist for14 years and now retired

  • Bruce Kittilson says:

    March 29, 2011 at 11:13 am

    EJ   Please take your writing to a teacher or an editor.  The errors you make will result in many potential readers simply ignoring you.  Indeed, I wonder if you are a serious person writing about higher education.

  • Bill Lorentz says:

    March 29, 2011 at 12:02 pm

    Good men and women do not stand by and do nothing.

  • Bill Lorentz says:

    March 29, 2011 at 12:04 pm

    The richest 400 Americans control nearly as much wealth as the lowest 50% of house holds. Nuff said.

  • Mike Downing says:

    March 29, 2011 at 8:35 pm

    Since when is a 2% increase a cut in higher ed?!

  • Bernie Bauhof says:

    March 30, 2011 at 9:37 am

    Mr. Sheeran,

    The link behind “cut higher education” in your post indicates that Mark Dayton is also proposing a cut to higher education of $171 million dollars. I am sure that it must be an oversight on your part that you did not call that out along with the increase proposed by the GOP.

  • Kathleen Holt says:

    April 6, 2011 at 11:44 pm

    Response to Herbert Davis: Would President Pawlenty be worse than President Bachmann?