Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Yes we have a tuition freeze!

But as Alex Friedrich reports (On Campus)

I’ll have more details soon, but U officials are clearly proud of their two-year tuition freeze, funding for which President Eric Kaler had made a main part of his plea to the legislature.
CFO Richard Pfutzenreuter (FITZ-en-rider) called the freeze the “jewel” of the proposal, saying it’s the first in a generation:
“I’ve been at the university of Minnesota for 21 years, and this is the first time I’ve seen — and I believe it goes back to perhaps as early as 1970, the last time that tuition was frozen.”
Resident graduate and professional students aren’t so lucky. They’d see see a tuition increase of 3 percent.
[but see below for the law school]

Fees are a mixed bag, depending on the campus. But the U froze the collegiate fee — apparently a first for that one. The largest percentage increase in fees was the student-services fee on the Twin Cities campus, which would rise 12.6 percent. Spokesman Chuck Tombarge said students approved it to pay for rec center improvements and expanded mental-health serves.
Update: In percentage terms, overall tuition and fee increases per campus look like this: Crookston (-0.1 percent); Duluth (0.2 percent); Morris (0.3 percent); Twin Cities (0.7 percent).
Overall: Increases in the total price tag for tuition, fees, room and board would rise from 0.8 percent in Crookston to 1.9 percent at the Twin Cities campus.
Some lawmakers and the public have complained in the past that nonresident tuition at the U is too low, and the U has responded with what appears to be the first of several increases over the coming years.
Nonresident undergrads would pay $1,000 more on the Twin Cities and Duluth campuses. (I believe most or all of the others will continue to charge the same rate for all undergrads.) Foreign students will also pay an extra $250 a year for improved academic services.
[This is still a tremendous bargain that leaves resident undergraduates at the University subsidizing non-resident tuition.]

With respect to the budget, my friend Michael McNabb comments:
The proposed budget for fiscal year 2014 shows general state appropriations in the amount of $515,211,000.  See p. 84 of the June 5, 2013 report of the Board of Regents.  These are unrestricted funds that the senior administrators and Regents may allocate as they wish.

The porposed allocation for the law school is $4,515,117--less than 1% of the state appropriations.  See p. 86 of the June 5, 2013 report of the B of R.  The senior administrators and the Regents are starving the law school of state appropriations and continuing to increase tuition at skyrocketing rates.  (It appears from attachment 4 to the June 5, 2013 report that the proposed increase for the 1L class is 9%.)  This course of conduct has effectively transformed the law school into a private school as far its finances are concerned.The law school sends out fund raising letters that assert that less than 10% of its budget comes from state funds.  The fact is that central administration makes the allocation of state funds to the law school and not the state legislature.

The administrators and the Regents are also continuing to hammer the students in other graduate and professional programs.  The people making these decisions did not have to start their careers with crushing student loan debt.

It does not have to be this way. 

See my March 16, 2013 email to Rep. Gene Pelowski (below).  See also Skewed U

Michael W. McNabb Attorney at Law 

To Gene Pelowski:
        Defining Tuition

At the hearing on March 13  President Kaler hinted that the U of M administration may be willing to freeze tuition (and fees?) on the condition that the legislature increases state appropriations by at least $42 million.  It is likely that he is referring to undergraduate tuition only (and for Minnesota residents only).  See: An Institution Adrift (fifth paragraph).

The tuition for students (both resident and non-resident) in graduate and professional programs is what really compounds the crushing student debt on young persons.   The U of M as a land grant institution has a responsibility to provide an accessible and affordable education for our children (including graduate and professional programs that will provide the highly skilled persons we need to provide services to the citizens of Minnesota).

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