Tuesday, November 29, 2011

University of Minnesota to Limit Transfers,

as Enrollment at Other State Colleges Swells

A funny thing happened on the way to more cooperation between the University of Minnesota and MNSCU...

A bid to shrink the ranks of transfer students to the University of Minnesota has opened a rift among the state's public higher-education institutions.

The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities System has sounded alarms over the U's plan to trim transfer student enrollment roughly 8 percent over the next couple of years. MnSCU supplies 45 percent of U transfers.

The U's plan is "troubling and disappointing," said Larry Litecky, interim vice chancellor for academic and student affairs at MnSCU. It goes against the state's commitment to improve access to four-year degrees for all residents, added Litecky, who noted that amid talk of closer cooperation between the U and MnSCU, he heard of the plan through the media.  

But U officials say the flak is unfair.

[They would.]

The U's plan doesn't mesh with the state's push to increase minority, low-income and first-generation student enrollment, said MnSCU's Litecky. The planned transfer limits come at a time when the system is graduating more students - and more of those under-represented students - than ever.

"In a lot of ways, this decision couldn't be timed any worse," Litecky said. "It's a time of record-high demand." 


It should be noted that the U of M is in the process of increasing the number of students admitted to the U, ramping up to a thousand more in the next few years.  An economic analysis would make clear why transfer students are more costly per head than first-years.  

But is a decision based on this fact desirable?  Is it in the best interests of the state to cut down on transfers to the U?

Seems to me that the U admin is engaged in a bit of the bait and switch game here.  They may pay for it at the legislature.

And, if President Kaler and Chancellor Rosenstone are such close personal friends, why is it that, as Litecky notes, MNSCU officials first learned of this in the newspaper?

As the higher ed pie stays static or even shrinks, a battle for resources seems inevitable. A 50/50 split may not be in the cards unless real cooperation occurs, not just talk. This lack of agreement between MNSCU and the U on an important issue is not a good way to start the much ballyhooed new age of cooperation.

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