Thursday, March 05, 2009

Two quick notes on the state budget and higher ed 

We know that the state is already in place to pick up $1.3 million of the federal stimulus spending aimed at supporting state budgets. From faculty union sources I've learned that there is an additional $669 million in spending for K-12 and higher ed. But that requires the legislature and Governor Pawlenty to keep spending at 2008-09 levels. So for instance, the governor's budget sought base spending reductions of $73 million for the next biennium for MnSCU; that would have to be rescinded to get that $669. So too would cuts to the U of M. And it would delay the day of reckoning on the higher ed budget. I probably don't have the exact net gain or loss figured in here, but that $669 is not a free lunch.

Also, the federal stimulus bill raised Pell grants by $500. That can be used to shift off spending by the Office of Higher Education on state grants. According to thesame union sources, that might be another $69 million. The temptation will be, of course, to shift that money out of higher education.

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