Wednesday, June 27, 2007

So What's It Going to Be at BigU?

A Medallion or a Yugo?

Mr. B. has previously written about the Yugo strategy that was unfortunately endorsed today at the U of M by the Board of Regents.

See: "The Fix is On, Another Fast Shuffle at BigU, or If You Can't Compete on Quality Compete on Price"

Thanks to OurLeader for further evidence that discussion of such matters is not for the stakeholders. Big Brother knows best. So much for transparency and openness. There are many unintended consequences on the horizon.

Out of state (non-reciprocity) tuition is to be set at $2000 per semester higher than in state tuition. This is a cut of about $8000 per year. It will be interesting to see how much traffic this generates from out of state students. Needless to say the new rate is significantly less than out of state tuition at so-called medallion schools that the U would like to emulate:

Many of the nation’s best and brightest students consider the University of Minnesota a “medium-quality school,” not in the same class as Michigan or Wisconsin.

The university is not viewed as a “medallion” destination [According to BigU, the BigTen medallion schools are Michigan, Penn State, Illinois, and Wisconsin] by top academic prospects. Even honors students who choose Minnesota rate its academic quality lower than the schools they turned down, according to an internal university analysis.

“Medium-quality, high-affordability” schools like the University of Minnesota must keep tuition low or offer big scholarships to lure good students. “Medallion schools” can charge higher tuition and offer fewer merit scholarships.

Oh well, if you can't compete on quality, compete on price. There was even talk in the early stages of the proposed Ten Year March to Greatness that a high quality residential college should be formed to attract outstanding students. Someone must have finally realized that this would cost a lot of money, more than we are apparently willing to spend except for football. BigU is not Carleton, St. Olaf, or Macalester. Education at BigU remains a business. It will be interesting to see the reaction of ColdState citizens to this move, once its implications become more fully understood.

From the Pioneer Press:

by Paul Tosto (Article Last Updated: 06/27/2007 04:26:20 PM CDT)

The U will significantly cut tuition at the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses for students from states outside the Upper Midwest. Starting for students entering in 2008-2009, those "non-resident, non-reciprocity" students will pay only $2,000 more per semester than Minnesotans for the Twin Cities campus and $1,000 more than Minnesotans in Duluth. Right now it's nearly a $6,000 difference on the Twin Cities campus and nearly $5,000 for Duluth.

Officials say that while the U's commitment to Minnesota students remains solid, the university is concerned about projected declines of high school students in Minnesota and neighboring states and how it might affect the university's future enrollment. Reducing non-resident tuition would make the U potentially more attractive to students outside the Upper Midwest.

One of the deans at an open forum on the budget claimed that going out of state, to Illinois for example, was going to be necessary in order to keep up minority enrolllment at BigU. Excuse me sir, you have heard of the late, lamented General College? You do know that we have a large minority population in North Minneapolis that might be fertile ground for BigU to do some of this vaunted outreach and community involvement. Perhaps then we could educate our own minority citizens at BigU rather than the citizens of Illinois, or Florida, or California. Or is that too much to ask of a land grant institution that aspires to be one of the top three public research universities in the world, but is having trouble rising to the top half of the BigTen?

See: "Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble, When You Have Ambitious Aspirations"

At least for now it is apparently not the medallion, but the Yugo for BigU. Let's all hope for better in the future.



Professor Vivek Kapur, Director of the Biomedical Genomics Center at BigU, has just announced that he will be decamping for one of those BigTen medallion schools BigU wishes to emulate - Penn State.

Some difficult choices face our leaders at BigU: Coke or Pepsi? Research or Teaching? Duplication of medical schools or children's hospitals? Becoming the third greatest public research university in the world or pursuing our mission as a land grant university? The medallion or the Yugo?

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