Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Time to face the music at University of Minnesota?

(Or are the lambs just being prepared for slaughter...)

From the Daily:

Last week, University President Bob Bruininks e-mailed faculty and staff an update on the University of Minnesota’s budget process.

In his message, Bruininks warned of a further 2.75 percent cut to both academic and support units that already absorbed a larger cut this year. He also reaffirmed plans to increase tuition by 7.5 percent, though a portion of that will be offset this year by federal stimulus funds. In a welcome departure from past statements, however, there was acknowledgement of growing resistance to tuition increases.

The budget cuts may require further reductions in staff or salaries. To the extent that staff furloughs must be implemented, they should be done in such a way as to impact students as little as possible. This will require focusing them away from front-line staff, teaching assistants and faculty and instead toward administration, managers and back-room functions.

This weighting would help correct for massively unbalanced recent growth. In the past decade, administrative staff has grown by 75 percent while faculty increased by only 14 percent. This disparity means that administrative salaries are fully one-third the size of teaching salaries.

Though any budget cut will be painful, the University’s leaders have a responsibility to implement it in a way that keeps the University’s essential focus on teaching intact.

My comment on this article - from the Daily web-site:

A couple of questions for the Morrill Hall crowd:

What, exactly, is going to happen to tuition when the federal stimulus money is no longer available?

How much will tuition go up that year? Will the portion that has been covered in the past be added to an additional increase?

A little honesty now about questions like this would be appropriate from people who will not be around to face the music when the full tuition bill finally comes due.


What is the true educational cost for a U of M student for one year and how much of that is covered by tuition + the state's contribution? Tuition money should not be used to subsidize ambitious aspirations, other than educational ones.

It is always interesting to see what our friends in Wisconsin are doing:

From the Associated Press:

"Other states have been more subtle in their budget balancing attempts.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison is in the first year of a four-year tuition increase plan aimed at improving quality. In addition to statewide tuition increases of about 5.5 percent, in-state students at UW-Madison will pay an extra $250 a year each year.

This year, tuition went up by $617 to $7,296 or about 9.2 percent, but financial aid increased at the same time.

Still, few are complaining because the extra money -- $100 million in the first four years and $40 million each year afterward -- is reserved for providing more classes, improving student services and increasing need-based financial aid."

No comments: