Friday, June 22, 2007

Tuition Reciprocity Snit Resolved
Well, I've seen everything...

Mr. B. has commented many times on the situation. What always seemed silly was that the State of Wisconsin paid the State of Minnesota the money necessary to cover any tuition imbalance. And yet, instead of trying to get the state to pony up, the University, the Daily, the Strib, all complained about how terribly unfair the situation was and that the students from Wisconsin should pay the same tuition as those from Minnesota, ignoring the fact that the difference was being paid by the state. Are they angry because the State of Wisconsin is trying to make higher education affordable for their citizens? Are they embarrassed by the fact that the in state tuition at Madison is less expensive than the U? I think that BigU's administrators were afraid to bring the matter up with the state because they felt helpless and embarrassed.

Mr. B. is not a fan of our governor - TPaw. Mr. B. is not of the no new taxes persuasion. But TPaw as well as Governor Doyle should be given credit for not putting their heads in the sand and ignoring this mess with the University threatening to pull out unilaterally if they did not get their way. Today a resolution has apparently been reached:

States reach agreement on tuition reciprocity

States reach agreement on tuition reciprocity

Doug Stohlberg Hudson Star-Observer
Published Friday, June 22, 2007

Gov. Jim Doyle and Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty announced last week that the nearly 40-year-old tuition reciprocity agreement between Minnesota and Wisconsin will continue, pending final approval by higher education officials in both states.

"In both Wisconsin and Minnesota, we have world class university systems and have worked hard to keep them affordable," Gov. Doyle said. "This agreement ensures that as our students pursue higher education, they will have many quality schools from which to choose."

"Reciprocity has been extremely valuable to thousands of Minnesota students and their families, and it benefits the entire region," said Gov. Tim Pawlenty. "We have worked hard to find a solution that keeps the agreement intact and we are pleased to continue this important partnership."

Under the proposed agreement, there is no change for Minnesota students attending public colleges and universities in Wisconsin. Minnesota residents will continue paying the same price they would pay at a comparable public college in their home state. The same is true for Wisconsin students attending school in Minnesota. But the financing structure of the agreement has been modified to address a growing gap between tuition paid by Minnesota residents and Wisconsin residents attending the University of Minnesota.

Because the resident undergraduate tuition rate at the University of Minnesota is currently higher than tuition at the University of Wisconsin, Wisconsin residents are currently paying $1,500 to $2,200 less to attend University of Minnesota campuses than Minnesota residents. The proposed new pact addresses this tuition disparity by charging all students the higher of the two resident tuition rates. In the case of Wisconsin students attending higher-priced institutions in Minnesota, the state of Wisconsin will provide a "tuition reciprocity supplement" for students to cover the increase in tuition charges.

In Minnesota, the reciprocity agreement must be approved by the governing boards of the University of Minnesota and the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities. Both bodies are expected to approve the agreement at their next regularly scheduled meeting. In Wisconsin, minor statutory changes will be offered for inclusion in the state budget bill and the agreement requires review and approval by the Joint Finance Committee of the Wisconsin Legislature.

The renegotiated agreement will not impact current students or students admitted for fall 2007. Wisconsin residents enrolling at the University of Minnesota in fall 2008 will see an increase in the gross tuition charges on their invoices, but the invoices will reflect a tuition reciprocity supplement from the State of Wisconsin, resulting in net tuition charges equal to what students would pay at a comparable institution in their home state.

The proposed pact does not present new costs for Wisconsin taxpayers. Under the existing agreement, a cost-based interstate payment calculation prevents either state from bearing a disproportionate share of the cost of educating students from the other state. This calculation, which will continue under the proposed agreement, has required Wisconsin to make annual payments to Minnesota's General Fund for the last several years. The state of Wisconsin will continue to make payments to Minnesota, in the form of reciprocity supplements paid on behalf of Wisconsin students attending higher-priced public institutions in Minnesota.

The reciprocity agreement between the two states has been in effect since 1968 and is reviewed and negotiated annually by the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Wisconsin Higher Education Aids Board.

Mr. B. is extremely pleased with this proposed solution.