Thursday, October 30, 2008

Jockeying Continues On Possible Tuition Increases
At the University of Minnesota

from the Daily:

Rukavina [State Representative Tom] introduced a bill in 2007 that sought to encourage a tuition freeze for students over a five-year period, similar to the Guaranteed Tuition Rate.

While the bill did not pass, Rukavina said with the economy slowing down, everyone, including the University, needs to “suck it in.”

“It is not the right time to be asking for money for a new research facility,” Rukavina said.

While he supports the University’s efforts to establish scholarships for students from middle-class families, Rukavina said University Regents need to put their foot down to assess how the University will make it through the “looming depression.”

Sen. Sandra Pappas, DFL-St. Paul, chairwoman of the Senate Higher Education committee, said programs like the Guaranteed Tuition Rate give students the ability to plan ahead.

“I think all those strategies are really useful; that way students can kind of plan if they know what tuition is going to be, they know how much they have to borrow and they know how much they have to save,” she said. “It puts some certainty into their future.”

Pappas said current efforts, such as giving more money for scholarships is good, but the Legislature currently doesn’t have the money required to support the University’s scholarship goals.

“The University should educate at an affordable rate,” Pappas said, adding the University needs to seek out more cost-effective ways to operate.

With a 9 percent increase in tuition planned over the next two years, both Pappas and Rukavina acknowledge the limitations of the government to legally institute a tuition cap for the University.

Pappas said the constitution has prevented such legislation for the University in past years. But she added the government can request or “strongly encourage” the University to cap tuition.
[a not too subtle warning to those bright bulbs in Morrill Hall]

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