- Associated Press - Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Gov. Mark Dayton sent a message to the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system in his budget Tuesday, and its leader say they got it.

The Democratic governor left MnSCU out of the roughly $93 million in extra spending he proposed for higher education. Faculty and students have clashed with their chancellor over his proposed system revamp, and Dayton said he won’t include additional funding for MnSCU in his budget proposals until the parties work out their differences.

“I believe strongly that we need a united MnSCU,” Dayton said. “I use this warning as a way to try to stimulate them to come together.”

MnSCU administrators and faculty leaders said in a joint statement they’re taking Dayton’s decision “very seriously.”

“We understand and share the governor’s concerns and are taking positive steps and having substantive dialogue to resolve our disagreements,” the statement said.

Meanwhile, Dayton proposed $62.6 million in extra spending on the University of Minnesota over the next two years. That includes $30 million to recruit top researchers at the medical school.

His pitch would fund about one-fourth of the school’s $127 million request outside of the medical school. Dayton proposed the state chip in half of the money needed to expand and continue a tuition freeze, with the other half coming from cost-saving measures on the university’s part.

The remainder of the governor’s two-year proposal for increased higher education spending includes an expansion of the state grant program to an additional 12,400 students. The average state grant recipient would also see an extra $300 if the budget is enacted.

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