U of M Considers Axing State Funding for 2 Schools

The U's Law School and the Carlson School of Management are both reportedly looking at switching to a private-funding model as state funds continue to dwindle under budget cuts.

Two of the University of Minnesota's schools are considering switching to a funding model that would rely solely on private fundraising and no state dollars, the Star Tribune recently reported.

According to the Minneapolis newspaper, the U's Law School and the Carlson School of Management are both looking at leaving their dwindling state funding behind for a private-funding model that could give them more control over how they operate.

The Star Tribune reported that newly departed President Robert Bruininks “lamented” the privatization trend but considers it “inevitable” that a few of the U's schools will break from state funding.

“By having some state funding in each of our colleges, it encourages all of us to be more self-conscious about our public mission, our public responsibilities, our public commitments,” he reportedly said in a recent interview. “When you get in a strictly revenue-driven model, there could be temptation to think of yourself as something separate from the whole of the university.”

According to the Star Tribune, the possible funding change has some concerned that the school will no longer remain committed to Minnesota residents and that tuition fees will increase, but school leaders say that shouldn't be a concern.

Law School Dean David Wippman told the Star Tribune that switching to a private-funding model could actually help more students pay for law school through scholarships that are paid for by fundraising.

Sri Zaheer, the Carlson School of Management's interim dean, told the Minneapolis newspaper that the school's commitment to the state has remained even as state funding has continued to fall-state funding for the school went from $13.7 million in 2006-2007 to a planned $3.1 million this year, or about 3.6 percent of the total budget, according to the Star Tribune.

Click here to read more in the Star Tribune about the schools' possible move to private funding, including examples of other schools across the country that have made the switch.