Monday, June 11, 2007

Tuition Reciprocity and BigU
You can buy a better product but you can’t spend more money.

Mr. B. has noted before the idiocy of the reciprocity problem between BigU and Wisconsin. A barrage of propaganda is in the air about the agreement costing the U six or seven million dollars. This is apparently being done to whip up support from the Board of Regents to drop the current agreement with Wisconsin.

Maybe it is not such a good idea for BigU to get into an unnecessary spat with Wisconsin over this matter. Apparently more Minnesotans think that an education in Wisconsin is a good thing than vice versa, at least based on enrollment. It is a good deal for ColdState citizens to have an opportunity to go to school in Madison at a reasonable tuition rate, because Madison is generally regarded as a significantly better school than BigU for undergraduates. See “Oh Lord, It’s Hard to be Humble,When You Have Ambitious Aspirations."

As has been pointed out many time before, the state of Wisconsin is making up the delta to the State of Minnesota. This fact is noted again by the Rochester Post-Bulletin:

Editorial: Resolve inequity in tuition reciprocity
6/8/2007 12:08:35 PM

... under the rules of the reciprocity agreement between the University of Minnesota and University of Wisconsin systems, students can attend their neighboring state's university at their own in-state tuition rate. Since tuition has increased faster in Minnesota than in Wisconsin, students coming here from Wisconsin are paying at least $1,200 less to attend the 'U' than do students from Minnesota.

It's an unfair situation for Minnesota students, and a somewhat embarrassing predicament for the University of Minnesota. For whatever reason -- reduced state aid, a failure to keep a lid on expenditures -- Minnesota students are seeing tuition at the state's flagship university eat up an increasingly large portion of their education budget.

For whatever reason, the University of Wisconsin has been able to get along with relatively smaller tuition increases.

Now, University of Minnesota officials are adamant that they will either get the agreement changed or drop it entirely in 2008. So far, officials in Wisconsin have been reluctant to make any changes.

Locally, this is a significant issue because of the large number of Rochester and area students who attend college in Wisconsin. Meanwhile, the 'U' is enlarging its Rochester program.

Last year, about 14,000 Minnesota students attended Wisconsin campuses while about 12,000 Wisconsin students attended 'U' campuses.

At the end of each year, Wisconsin compensates Minnesota for lost revenue -- to the tune of $20 million over the past three years. But that money goes to the state's general fund, rather than to the 'U.'

It would be a shame if a program that so many students in both states find attractive is allowed to expire. College students and their parents have been pummeled by tuition increases in the past year. The uncertain future of this reciprocity agreement only adds to their turmoil.

People who run universities are supposed to be smart. They should be able to find a way to equitably solve this problem for the benefit of all -- but especially for students.

There is an obvious solution here.
Why exactly isn't this being taken care of?

(Send the money directly to the institutions involved, or have the governor direct that the money paid to the State of Minnesota be equitably distributed? No... Screw the students and their parents, let them eat cake, er... bratwurst!)


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