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U of M leaders raise budget concerns

University of Minnesota officials this week raised concerns about the state higher education funding being proposed by the Legislature this session — funding they say is "dramatically lower" than what was requested by the university.

U of M President Eric Kaler said in a message sent to legislators Thursday that "the proposed funding level by the Minnesota Legislature will certainly necessitate cutbacks in programs across the University — programs that serve Minnesotans."

A lower level of state funding could lead to tuition increases as high as 5 percent, Kaler said. He asked that legislators "approach higher education funding as the investment that it is."

"The proposed funding from the Legislature is disappointing and will, unfortunately, result in further budget challenges and increased tuition for our students," University of Minnesota Duluth Chancellor Lendley Black said in a news release. "I urge the Legislature to increase their proposed support in the University of Minnesota, which is a sound investment for the state of Minnesota."

The Republican-controlled House and Senate, and Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton, each have offered their own budget proposals, including varying levels of state money for higher education.