President Eric Kaler spoke at the state Senate’s Higher Education and Workforce Development committee today to present the University of Minnesota’s budget request for next biennium.

The University is seeking $148.2 million dollars in new funding this Legislative session, with a $65.2 million tuition freeze for resident students as Kaler’s top priority.

Kaler praised Sen. Richard Cohen, DFL-St. Paul, for an appropriations bill he introduced last week that would give the University $120.7 million for investments in research, its “Healthy Minnesota” initiative and improvements for the Medical School, according to a University press release.

“Providing for higher education is an overdue investment in the future of Minnesota,” Cohen said, according to the release.

Land O’Lakes President and CEO Chris Policinski spoke at the hearing as well, expressing support for Cohen’s bill and the importance of the University, the press release said.

“The University of Minnesota is an important asset that brings value to the state’s overall business community,” Policinski said, according to the release.

Gov. Mark Dayton proposed to fully fund the tuition freeze Friday after the February economic forecast projected a nearly $1.9 billion surplus for next session.