With state funding tight, Winona colleges work to adapt
By Kyle Farris, Winona Daily News
Officials at Winona's two public colleges say they are undaunted by recent financial struggles at Minnesota State, the system of colleges and universities formerly known as MnSCU.
Minnesota State and its 54 campuses are feeling the effects of a flatline in state funding and a widespread dip in enrollment that is cutting into their tuition revenue. But administrators at Winona State University and Minnesota State College Southeast say they should be able to ride out this rough patch, as long as they adapt to current trends.
At two-year Minnesota State College Southeast, administrators are thinking about ways to help their own declining enrollment.
Dorothy Duran, the school's president, said they would like to attract people who are currently in the workforce and might need a degree to earn a promotion or change careers. They're also trying to raise their retention rates by connecting students with advisers to keep them academically motivated.
But all of this does nothing to fix what administrators are calling the root of their recent problems: stagnant funding from the state.
Since 1995, state spending per full-time college student has dropped from more than $8,400 to less than $6,000 -- well below the regional average.