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EXECUTIVE SUMARY As a public research university, the operating costs of the University of Minnesota are paid for in part by the Minnesota legislature. Other sources of revenue include tuition, private or corporate donations, research grants, event sales and licensing fees. The University must draft up a budget for every two years – a biennial budget – build public support, present it the legislature, and ask that their request be granted. At its peak in 2001 state appropriation was just under $1.4 billion for the biennium. Since then, amidst the onset of post-recession spending cuts, state appropriation levels today lie at a meager $545 million. The University now has 15 percent more students than it did at peak funding levels in 2001 and has driven up the cost of its tuition to help cover the loss. This year the University is presenting the 2014-2015 biennium budget, and starting with their current appropriation amount of just over $1 billion, are requesting an 8.4 percent boost to return to $1.18 billion, just shy of the 2001 levels. It is our goal to clearly and effectively present the case for doing so, build public support and influence key legislators to champion our cause.






SITUATION ANALYSIS Maroon and Gold. These two colors should invoke a large degree of pride for any Minnesotan,

student or alumni of the University of Minnesota. With over 52,000 students enrolled at the Twin Cities campus alone, the University remains a diverse catalyst for a brighter tomorrow, and not only for Minnesota. A global leader in liberal arts and research, the University continues to reinvigorate the classroom. However, it may be a classroom without you or your children. Tuition has continued to increase at an alarming pace, making access more difficult for Minnesota families. If nothing is done, what is to happen next? Dollars alone, the University generates $8.6 billion per year as economic impact in the state of Minnesota. With over 70,000 employees, the University continually returns money to the statewide economy. State legislation has continually dis-invested in the University, and by extension, they have dis-invested in your future. Under current circumstances, students will not be able to afford tuition, research will suffer, and the light bulb will burn out. State legislation must invest in the University and the promise it gives.


SA Collective sentiment from the Minnesota government questions the accountability of the University. The major question being, “We give you these resources. How does the state benefit?” President Kaler understands this and voices his belief that public education plays a major role in supporting the public good, and that the economic returns are well worth the investment. This question draws power from recent national news media criticism of administrative bloat in university systems. Minnesota served as the scapegoat. As a result extra attention has been shifted onto the university’s commitment to addressing the issue.

The governor, senators and representatives have agreed with public outcry that freezing tuition for the next two years is one of the most important issues facing students today. They also are receptive to the University’s new research initiative. Both of these issues are seeking financial support of the legislature and the friendly rhetoric is a hopeful indicator of favorable voting.




The University has chosen to highlight three areas of focus in the 2014-2015 biennial budget request: Freezing tuition for undergraduate students, investing in research, and providing loan forgiveness for students in health care professions who commit to practicing in un-


- 5th LARGEST employer

derserved Minnesota communities. According to Jay Weiner, speech writer for President Kaler, these areas showcase the incredible work of the students and faculty who make up the University of Minnesota currently and act as a commitment from University administration to continue to provide resources where it counts the most in the future.





Returns $13.20 for every $1 invested

- Annual -

AWARDS 15,568

Economic Impact




degrees annually

21 RESEARCH and OUTREACH centers extension in 87 countries

2/3 of

GRADUATES stay in state

Freeze Tuition

In the state of Minnesota, the average student graduates from their undergraduate career with

$29,739 of student loan debt, and nearly two thirds of students will have taken out some kind of




loans throughout their time in school. These numbers rank the state as having the third highest average for student debt in the entire country, and the University of Minnesota is very representative of these figures with the average student graduating with $28,407 of debt in 2011.

The University is requesting $14.2 million annually in order to freeze tuition at $13,524 for the next two years. This would follow 13 years of tuition raises, averaging about 7 percent annual increase per year for the past five years. The University is committed to its students’ success long-term and understands that these numbers are far too high. It believes that it is not fair for students to sign up for their freshman year and then be caught off guard by high tuition raises every year following because it makes budgeting for college almost impossible. Freezing tuition would help to attract higher caliber students who may otherwise be drawn to private colleges that offer better scholarships or other state colleges that seem to be more manageable in price. It is an ethical matter, and students should not be limited from high quality education because of price.






Invest in Research The university plans to spend the research funding in four

accessibility of fresh and natural foods to the public and reduce

main areas: Microbes, Robotics, Food Supply, and Brain

food contamination and food animal health. Eventually the Uni-

Mapping. Each of these areas is designed to both help

versity hopes to create the first certified supply chain throughout

boost knowledge in the area, and to help boost the Minne-

Minnesota food production, which will help create new jobs and

sota economy.

strengthen the Minnesota economy. Brain mapping research will

Microbes research will focus on diagnosis, treatment, and

focus on strengthening Minnesota’s medical device industry and

prevention of water contamination. In the future, the mi-

attracting the best trainees and faculty for the program. Ultimate-

crobe research aims to improve the water quality of areas

ly, the University aims to help improve the mental health quality

that heavy contamination due to mining and other agricultur-

of Minnesotans and reduce the cost of brain condition treatment.

al practices, as well as provide future jobs in implementing

With Obama’s new brain mapping initiative, federal funding

the results of the research.

should also increase if the University expands it’s brain mapping

The Robotics research will focus on improving the U’s


robotics program in order to gain a competitive advantage

As of right now, the university supports 16,193 jobs that relate

in receiving federal funding from grants like the Nation-

to research in one way or another, which has a 1.5 billion dollar

al Robotics Initiative. Long term goals include producing

impact on the Minnesota economy. According to the National

high paying robotics jobs in Minnesota and Growing a new

Science foundation, the University is the tenth best Research

high-tech robotics industry in Minnesota to complement the

School, which will attract prospective researchers to come here.

maturing medical devices industry.

Increasing the University’s research budget will only help Minne-

The food supply research will focuses on increasing the

sota’s economy in the long run.

Loan Forgiveness



This money - $1.5 million recurring state appropriation beginning in FY15 – would be awarded to forgive loans for graduating health care professionals who agree to serve in an underserved area of the state. These include pharmacy, nursing, medical, dental, and veterinary students. This policy aligns with the University mission to increase college affordability and retain talent in


Minnesota. The University awards 100 percent of Minnesota’s dentistry, pharmacy, and veterinary degrees, 85% of its MD degrees and two-thirds of doctoral degrees in STEM fields. As such a dominant provider of medical degrees in a state with such a competitive health care industry, the ability for the University to continually recruit and guarantee graduated talent remains in the state should be a key focus for legislative aid.




Pass the University of Minnesota biennial budget request for a total of $1.18 billion through the Minnesota State Legislature. The funds will be used to: • Implement a 2-year tuition freeze for undergraduate students ($42.6 million total) • Fund research to support Minnesota’s promising industries ($36 million) • Forgive student loans for health care professionals in underserved areas of Minnesota ($1.5 million)




Influence key audiences to form a unified and visually identifiable coalition of support for legislators and legislation that further University of Minnesota interests.

Objectives In line with the University mission’s three goals – research and discovery, teaching and learning and outreach & public service – are these three campaign objectives included in the biennial budget request.





Freeze Tuition Acquire $42.6 million


Create a feeling of urgency among key audiences surrounding the student loan debt crisis by sharing personal stories that appeal to emotions and broader statistics to demonstrate the reach of the crisis.

Key Messages • 2/3 of University of Minnesota undergraduate students graduate with student loan debt. • The average student is almost $30,000 in debt at graduation. • Recently, the state has a history of divesting from Higher Education. The students, faculty, and research at the University of Minnesota have stories that are worth investment.


• Students - Almost 30,000 undergraduate students who would benefit from a tuition fees • Families - That makes almost 30,000 families who want to see students succeed • Corporations and Organizations - Minnesota has many Fortune 500 companies and nonprofit organizations that look to hire students. The amount of debt students have can sway their decision to accept a position based on salary, and so the workplace has an interest in student debt because it affects their workforce.


Freeze Tuition

Tactics • Organize a student rally at the Minnesota

• Create a folder with the following items that

Capitol Building, supporting the Universi-

can be given out to students, families, faculty,

ty’s budget

and other audience members who want ac-

• Work with journalists to get media coverage of the student rally on local news channels across the state • Work with legislators to meet with students about their stories and ideas • Set up a station in Coffman where stu-

• A pamphlet with graphs and numbers about past state investment in the University • Statistics on student loan debt • A one-sheet with personal stories from students to give a human face to the numbers • Action steps

pre-addressed and stamped letter to

• Incorporate student and faculty representa-

• Work with MPIRG or other student groups to use pre-existing contact lists of


cess to information

dents can sign a petition or send a

their legislator



tives when meeting with legislators or testifying in front of committees • A visually appealing website that is a “one-

students with a proven interest in legis-

stop-shop” for information with background on

lation in order to appeal to them to write

student debt, upcoming events, and news up-

a more personalized letter or to meet in

dates on the progress of passing the budget.

person with legislators 12




Invest in Research Acquire $36 million to establish MnDrive Program

efit from the research done at the University. 3M already donates

(MN Discovery, Research and InnoVation Economy)

massive amounts for research funding. In 2001, 3M gave $15


Create a desire/motivation to see the U succeed in it’s

Reaching out to these corporations would give them the opportu-

research, make the U’s research seem important to

nity to help continue their current beneficial relationship with the

the future of Minnesota


Key Messages

• Legislators - Key legislators in influential positions such as Repre-

The U of M’s research programs add billions of dollars

sentative Erin Murphy, House leader and the Chair of Higher Ed-

and thousands of jobs to the MN economy. It also will

ucation and Workforce Development Committee, Terri E. Bonoff.

provide more efficient systems in the future that will

These legislators will be the most influential in getting the actual

reduce costs and provide profit for corporations

legislation passed so we need to prove to them why this budget


• Staff - The University employs 16,193 staff who would receive benefits from this 36 million dollar grant. Because these people benefit directly from the grant, they would probably be most willing to help speak out for the legislation. • Corporations such as 3M and Medtronic often ben13

Million to Support the development of technology at the University.

proposal is a good idea.


Invest in Research

• Individual letters written to specific researchers and corporations, send liaisons to corporations to explain the situation and how the U of M’s research budget can help.




• In addition, we would launch a website that goes in the specifics of the MN budget crisis and how providing research funds now will help the MN economy in the future • Provide an in depth research report that backs up the University’s claims




Loan Forgiveness Acquire 1.5 million for AHC Loan Forgiveness Program



dents. Organized student groups such as the Student Na-

Clearly depict and familiarize key audiences with the dire

tional Medical Association, School of Nursing Global Health

situations of underserved communities and the helplessness

and Transcultural Group, Ethics in Medicine among many

of medical graduates trying to support them. Leverage these

others are best targeted for mobilization for events and

feelings to encourage action in support of passing loan for-

spreading the word.

giveness with the budget.

Key Messages

• The University of Minnesota is the dominant provider of medical degrees in the state. • Underserved communities are experiencing a shortage of primary care physicians. • Educational debt for graduating physicians is at an all time high. • Our underserved communities deserve the care of our

• Medical Graduates - The School of Medicine has over 11000 graduated alumni. The most involved and likely to become mobilized operate within organizations like the Graduate and Professional Student Assembly. Alumni societies in health care domains share common goals in creating support for members of their trade. Combined society membership from the Schools of Dental Hygiene, Nursing, and Medicine among others total over 10000. • Health Care Providers - There are over 4000 registered

trained graduates and loan forgiveness is worth the mon-

health care providers in the state, including hospitals, hos-


pices, out patient clinics, rehabilitation centers and others.

Audience • Students - The student audience from health care rel15

evant schools at the University total more than 6000 stu-

• Underserved Communities account for 4.9 million Minnesotan residents. These families and individuals struggle for

Loan Forgiveness access to quality, affordable health


care. This audience has stories to

• Develop support kits with informational pullouts, promotional materials, personal

tell and an aggravation able to be

stories and action steps – write letter to legislator, spread the word, pledge support,

funneled towards support of legis-

join in rallies and other events.

lation. • Community Organizations like the Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minne-

rent students who want to stay in the state and work in underserved communities. • Hold a banquet for health care alumni societies. Collect mailing lists, signatures of support, materials to spread the word. Stories from other key audiences encourage

UCare and the Minnesota Medical

support of legislation. Invite key legislators and provide immediate show of support.

Association Foundation are active

• A dedicated section on the Believe in U website for supporting audiences interested

ness support. Their shared values are opportunities for building active support from influential organizations.


• “Help me help us.” - Assemble a list of pledges, or profile some promises from cur-

sota Foundation, HealthPartners,

in providing physician loan forgive-



in the loan forgiveness objective. • Place kiosks, support kits and canvas clinics and health care providers in underserved communities. • Collect testimonies, letters and statements of support from opinion leaders in Minnesota health care, addressing key legislators directly calling for support of passage. • Development of spreadable content on social media and a twitter hashtag to flood public officials profiles




Success rides on the legislature passing the 2014-2015 biennium budget with the requested appropriation amount for $1.18 billion dollars to freeze tuition, fund the MnDRIVE program and the loan forgiveness program. The highest level of success includes the passage off all three and is scaled down, but still recognized, if only passed in part.

Objectives I. Measurement for Freezing Undergraduate Tuition: • Overall success will lie in whether or not the budget is passed by the Minnesota Legislature. • Track the number of student letter to the editors published in Minnesota • Count the number of students who show up at a political rally at the Capitol Building • Track the number and tone of news stories in newspapers, websites, and television • Track website traffic • Qualitatively assess the student testimonies in front of legislative committees II. Measurement for Research Goal Achievement • The magnitude of action taken by the corporations to pass the bill 17

ME • The amount of outcry and support from Research staff at the University III. Success for the loan forgiveness objective may be measured and evaluated as follows. • Overall success if loan forgiveness is included and passed with the budget request. • The number of support kits deployed versus the number of responses from those unique materials. • The quality of personal stories can be evaluated by the quantity and quality of responses from audiences when presented across various channels. • Banquet success is directly measured by raised attendance, pledged support, number of letter responses collected, support kits disseminated and quality of immediate in person feedback. • Website success can be evaluated with various metrics to gauge traffic, engagement, quantity and quality of responses and interactions. • Quantity and quality of testimonies from health care industry opinion leaders are successful if key legislators responses promise to support their call to action.




1. Value the existence of a strong, consistent, unifying brand mark to symbolize support of passing the budget request. Rousing the public to move towards a common goal requires a symbol - a badge of support - that can move across channels and be harnessed by advocates.

2. A single website that integrates our multiple audiences while maintaining focus on specific objectives of interest is very necessary. Key audiences favoring specific objectives are being leveraged to drive traffic to the website. A well organized and interest segmented website will strike the balance between distracting motivated audiences and providing them the bigger picture of the budget request.

3. Focus on key legislators and respectfully, but incessantly, slam them with messages and requests for support. These include leadership of the Senate Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee: Terri E. Bonoff, Greg D. Clausen and Jeremy R. Miller, and House Higher Education Policy and Finance: Bud Nornes and Bob Dettmer. 4. Act now while thinking of the future. Follow up with supporting audiences on the progress and final decision of policymakers. Provide these supporters with a sense of catharsis and they will be more likely to mobilize in the future.

4. Act now while thinking of the future. Follow up with supporting audiences on the progress and final 19

RE decision of policymakers. Provide these supporters with a sense of catharsis and they will be more likely to mobilize in the future.

5. The University must be clear in their commitment to put students and research first. In light of the Wall Street Journal article and heightened scrutiny among the University community, the administration needs to be more transparent than ever. This could include highly publicizing annual reports, agendas of meetings where decisions are made, and President Kaler should meet with students publicly. This could happen in the form of student group meetings, office hours, or more events like “Coffee and Doughnuts with Cops� (and President Kaler).

Next Steps We believe it is in the best interest of the University to call for the creation of a political action committee (PAC) or Super PAC under the BELIEVEinU brand. The major benefits of this initiative are increases in fundraising ability, greater influence of key legislators and the ability to support campaign efforts to establish friendly policymakers. This body would need to be governed by a board of trustees independent of the University. PACs are effectively being used to support several other university systems.


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Hawkins, Beth. “Kaler Shares His Thinking on U of M Budget and Policy Proposals.”MinnPost. N.p., n.d. Web. 24 Apr. 2013.

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Shine, Conor. “U Breaks into Top 10 Research Schools.” Minnesota Daily. N.p., 13 Dec. 2010. Web. 23 Mar. 2013. <http://www.mndaily. com/2010/12/13/u-breaks-top-10-research-schools>.

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University of Minnesota. 3M Gives U OF M $15 Million to Support Science and Technology. Giving to the U of M. N.p., Feb. 2001. Web. 24 Mar. 2013. <>.)


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UMN Public Policy School Project