Saturday, March 15, 2008

President Bruininks Has A Revelation - In Crookston

Promises to Stabilize Tuition, Limit Increase to One Percent

"To show unto His servants things which must shortly come to pass." Revelation 22:6

An interesting report from Crookston about OurLeader's outstate lobbying efforts. As the paper notes pointedly, Bob has not been there in 16 months. He also uses some unusual rhetoric - for Bruininks - about tuition stabilization.

From the Grand Forks Herald:

By David Dodds, Herald Staff Writer


In his first visit to University of Minnesota-Crookston in 16 months, Bruininks thanked the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce for its strong support of the bill that uses higher gas taxes and motorist fees to fund $6.6 billion over 10 years to fix high-priority bridges and provide basic transportation needs throughout the state.

Legislators overrode Gov. Tim Pawlenty’s veto last month to pass the transportation bill.

The UM system, with its five campus — Twin Cities, Crookston, Duluth, Rochester and Morris — aren’t in the clear, though.

Bruininks is tussling with Pawlenty and his proposal to cut about $27 million from the system’s budget. The Minnesota State Colleges and University system would sustain similar cuts under the governor’s plan.

Pawlenty has said the amount is small considering what the UM system spends in a year, but Bruininks contends it would affect all aspects of the system, from its ability to conduct research to scholarship funding.

In Crookston, Bruininks reiterated his promise to increase student tuition “only as a last resort” when trying to offset cuts in state funding.

Bruininks said UM students, including those in Crookston, have seen back-to-back years with tuition of hikes totaling about 14 percent.

Stabilize tuition

The president used the UMC campus to indicate his concern for the enrollment impact continued steep tuition increases might have.

He pointed to successes that UMC has experienced recently, including this past spring’s 1,072 full-time degree-seeking students, a 13 percent increase over the previous year.

“We’re starting to make forward progress here,” Bruininks said, “and I don’t want anything to get in the way of that.”

If it does reach a point where tuition must be raised, Bruininks said he’d fight to limit it to 1 percent to 1½ percent — considerably less than the most recent hikes.

“We want to get it a back to more stable,” he said.

Tuition stabilization is, indeed, an idea with legs. Perhaps OurLeader should try this argument in the Twin Cities and at the state legislature? It might be more productive in the long run than his current marketing campaign.

I'm sure the folks at Crookston are not particularly interested in, nor do they want to pay for, OurLeader's "ambitious aspirations to be one of the top three public research universities in the the world [sic]."

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