Cuts in state funding contribute to need for tuition increase
Average annual tuition and fee rates will increase by $186 for undergraduate students at the state colleges and $321 at the state universities beginning this fall under a budget approved Wednesday by the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities Board of Trustees.
Students at the 25 state colleges will pay an average of $5,171 or 3.7 percent more, and students at the seven state universities will pay an average of $7,026 or 4.8 percent more for tuition and fees than the current year.
The budget was approved even though the governor and Legislature have not reached an agreement on spending for higher education in the fiscal year that begins July 1. Laura King, vice chancellor of finance, said if resolution of the budget impasse results in substantially more money, she will look forward to bringing a revised budget to the board.
“This budget nearly reverses the mix of tuition and state appropriation compared to a decade ago,” Chancellor James H. McCormick said. “Tuition will cover 61 percent of the cost of educating students while the state appropriation will pay 39 percent of the cost. Prior to successive state support reductions, in 2002 the state appropriation covered 66 percent and tuition paid 34 percent.
“We are concerned about increasing tuition, but we do know that last year, about 60 percent of the students enrolled in the state colleges and 63 percent of students enrolled at the state universities received some kind of financial aid award,” he said. “The average award was $6,326 for students at the colleges and $9,466 for students at the universities.”
Overall, the system will operate with $76 million less than it had during the current fiscal year. As a result, the 32 presidents of the colleges and universities are balancing their budgets by restructuring and closing programs, eliminating administrative support, increasing class sizes, limiting course offerings, reducing expenses for travel and equipment purchases and taking other actions.
When adjusted for inflation, the system expects to operate with 4 percent less per student than it had in fiscal year 2002. In fiscal 2012, per full-year equivalent student spending will be $6,901, which is $286 less per student than the system spent in fiscal year 2002.
Attached is a list of annual tuition and fees for 2011-2012.
The Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system comprises 32 state universities and community and technical colleges serving the higher education needs of Minnesota. The system serves about 277,000 students per year in credit-based courses and an additional 157,000 students in noncredit courses.