How Will Pawlenty’s Unallotment Impact State’s Higher Ed Ranking?

When Governor Tim Pawlenty proposed a collective unallotment of $100 million to the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities (MNSCU) system on Tuesday, higher education officials breathed a short sigh of relief. After the end of session a month ago, Pawlenty speculated an additional $190 million in budget cuts to higher education might be forthcoming.

The legislature had previously reduced funding by $93.7 million to MNSCU over the 2010-11 biennium, with $79.2 million of that offset by one-time federal stimulus money over the next two years. The higher education budget signed last month also cut the University of Minnesota’s budget by $177 million over the next biennium, with $89.3 million allocated in federal stimulus money to soften the blow.

How will all these budgeted and unalloted cuts affect the Gopher State’s strong commitment to higher education?

A Smart Politics analysis of Kaiser Family Foundation and Census Bureau data finds Minnesota had the second largest per capita spending of any state in the country in 2007. At $491.15 per person, Minnesota trailed only Hawaii ($517.00) and was well ahead of 3rd place New Mexico ($465.14).

By comparison, the neighboring state of North Dakota spent only 73 percent of this amount on higher education per capita ($358.55, #7 nationally), followed by Iowa at 56 percent ($276.76, #15), Wisconsin at 46.4 percent ($227.97, #27), and South Dakota at 46.3 percent ($227.56, #28).

The net $102+ million in budget cuts (after federal stimulus money) from last session’s higher education bill plus the $100 million unalloted by Pawlenty on Tuesday results in a $38.73 per capita reduction in higher education spending for the next biennium, or about $19.36 per capita each year (although the budget cuts and federal stimulus funds are not spread out evenly across the two years).

Even assuming each of the other 49 states in the nation refrained from making any cuts to higher education (which will not be the case as nearly every state faces a budget deficit as well), Minnesota will thus likely remain in the Top 2 or 3 states in the nation in terms of per capita higher education spending, even after these cuts are implemented.

It is certainly unknowable at this time how the ever unfolding economic situation will impact the state’s higher education budget in the 2012-2013 biennium. Nonetheless, at least in the short term, the current budget cuts are not of a scale large enough to dethrone the Gopher State as one of the leading states in the country in its commitment to higher education.

Yearly Higher Education Spending Per Capita by State

Rank
State
Per Capita
1
Hawaii
$517.00
2
Minnesota
$491.15
3
New Mexico
$465.14
4
Alaska
$445.87
5
North Carolina
$380.27
6
Alabama
$367.45
7
North Dakota
$358.55
8
Nebraska
$333.63
9
Kentucky
$300.76
10
Louisiana
$298.59
11
Utah
$291.99
12
Delaware
$290.92
13
California
$285.50
14
Kansas
$279.07
15
Iowa
$276.76
16
Texas
$271.26
17
Maryland
$258.27
18
Indiana
$252.16
19
New Jersey
$247.62
20
Oklahoma
$246.27
21
Virginia
$244.95
22
Tennessee
$242.00
23
Arkansas
$238.85
24
West Virginia
$237.54
25
Georgia
$230.96
26
Washington
$229.49
27
Wisconsin
$227.97
28
South Dakota
$227.56
29
Florida
$223.26
30
Ohio
$222.10
31
Idaho
$210.66
32
South Carolina
$198.89
33
Connecticut
$193.36
34
Nevada
$190.76
35
Maine
$189.90
36
New York
$184.04
37
Rhode Island
$179.87
38
Arizona
$178.15
39
Illinois
$177.11
40
Michigan
$172.74
41
Massachusetts
$170.36
42
Oregon
$162.00
43
Pennsylvania
$161.87
44
Montana
$161.25
45
Missouri
$147.34
46
Mississippi
$145.31
47
Colorado
$140.50
48
Vermont
$133.60
49
New Hampshire
$95.76
50
Wyoming
$67.58

Note: Per capita ranking calculated by Smart Politics based on 2007 higher education spending data from the Kaiser Family Foundation and July 2008 population estimates by the U.S. Census Bureau.

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1 Comment on "How Will Pawlenty’s Unallotment Impact State’s Higher Ed Ranking?"

  1. I dont’t think Minnesota that high

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