Wednesday, June 23, 2010

University of Minnesota Budget,

Then and Now

An alum writes in the Daily:

A friend of mine picked up and passed along a copy of the June 16 issue of The Minnesota Daily. The graph on page five indicated that while state funding for the University of Minnesota has remained fairly constant, tuition has increased almost fourfold in the last 14 years. It is time for the University to revisit the high-tuition, high-financial aid budget model.

In the boring nostalgia department, my contemporaries and I are shocked at the current model. I worked 20 hours a week for minimum wage, lived at home, paid for University tuition and books on a cash basis, and came out with a bachelor’s degree owing $200 on an unnecessary student loan.

The degree then had all the national prestige that it would have now. When my children went to the University during the past decade, I was initially impressed with the impeccable landscaping down to the River Flats (eliminating my old parking lot), all of the clean brick and shiny metal, the second renovation of Coffman Union (I covered the first as a reporter for this paper in the ’70s), etc.

However, the luster has dimmed significantly with the tens of thousands of dollars in loans that I have signed or cosigned to finance this palatial educational opportunity for my children.

In my current bankruptcy law practice, I see a lot of unwelcome change and other misery in private sector business and consumer situations. While I hope for the best possible outcome for all University personnel, they and other public employees need to understand that they are in one of the last economic cocoons in a drastically changed world, and that the cocoon will have to open eventually. I hope we see the top administrators and faculty “stars” step up to share the financial burden with the custodians and clerical staff.

Kurt Anderson, University alumnus

Thank you for your wise advice, attorney Anderson!

You should know that many of the faculty - not stars or administrators - were willing to step up to the plate in sharing the financial burden, but the Morrill Hall Gang is hiding behind a so-called pay cut of ca 1%. One of the faculty - and rightly so - referred to this action as a band-aid. The Gang also make the absurd claim that the current cuts are progressive - even the Dean of the Carlson School recently made this ridiculous statement at a meeting of the Board of Regents!

It is time for us to take back our University of Minnesota. This will not happen while the current Gang is running the show. Changes at the Board level are also going to be necessary.

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