Leaders say they envision a future of self-reliance for two University of Minnesota schools instead of depending on volatile public finance.
The university's Law School and Carlson School of Management both are considering trading in what remains of their state funding for private fundraising that could give them more control over how they operate, the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported Monday. If they break from public funding, the two schools would join a handful of schools nationwide eschewing public money.
This year, public funding accounts for 3.6 percent of Carlson's budget. The Law School's share also drops to single digits, the Star Tribune said.
The university is weighing the concept's merit, but the final decision rests with President Eric Kaler, who took office Friday.
Just-departed President Robert Bruininks said he thought privatization was inevitable but that few of the university's schools would 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 told the Star Tribune. "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."
Deans of the Law School and the Carlson School of Management said they didn't seek the change in funding and that their schools would remain as committed to the public as they are now.
"We will be, in every respect, a public law school," Law School Dean David Wippman said. "Our tuition plan has to be approved by the regents. We are not opting out of our financial obligations to the university. Nothing really changes except where your revenue comes from."