ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — The Minnesota Senate approved a major funding increase for the University of Minnesota and MnSCU systems on Wednesday.

It’s the first aid boost for higher education in the past eight years.

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The approval for $236 million will be used for a tuition freeze at the University of Minnesota, and possibly at MnSCU, too.

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The Minnesota Senate was also worried that taxpayer dollars could possibly go to funding U of M athletic coach’s buyouts, but the university reminded the lawmakers that it’s already illegal for the school to do so.

Smith is not the only detour Minnesota Senators took — for more than an hour, they debated whether to allow admitted or convicted terrorists such as William Ayers from receiving honors from Minnesota colleges and universities.

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Ayers was named a visiting scholar at Minnesota State University, Moorhead this year. He was a co-founder of the 1960s radical group called the Weather Underground