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UMinn to review nonresident tuition

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — The University of Minnesota is currently the cheapest school in the Big Ten for nonresident tuition, but possibly not for much longer.

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Officials plan to review the cost of tuition for out-of-state residents, lowered four years ago to attract more undergraduates. University President Eric Kaler said that's helped Minnesota grow a robust population of out-of-state students. But state residents are paying the fourth most-expensive tuition in the Big Ten.

"It's probably — certainly — time to look carefully at where we are in that out-of-state price point and whether we should grow that, " Kaler told the Star Tribune.

The number of nonresident students has swelled since 2007 from nearly 8 percent to more than 17 percent in 2012. Meanwhile, the percentage of resident students dipped slightly and the number of students from reciprocity states, such as Wisconsin, shrank.

In the Big Ten, nonresident tuition and fees averages $29,328. The University of Minnesota charges $18,774 in tuition and fees for out-of-state and international undergraduates — the cheapest of the conference's dozen schools — and $13,524 for in-state students. By comparison, the University of Wisconsin charges $26,628 for nonresidents and $10,379 for residents.

Minnesota first needs to study how sensitive out-of-state students are to price, Kaler said.

"You don't want to make it so expensive that no out-of-state student chooses to come," Kaler said, "nor do you want to make it so remarkably inexpensive that Minnesota students feel like they're subsidizing out-of-state students."

Across the country, public universities have been recruiting more aggressively across borders to gain the bigger tuition payments. But the University of Minnesota was "something of an outlier," in lowering its tuition, said Patrick Callan, president of the Higher Education Policy Institute.

From 2007 to 2012, the school had the biggest drop in published price for out-of-state students of any flagship university in the country, according to an October report by the College Board.

Callan said it makes sense that the university would consider raising out-of-state tuition, but he added that doing so would be "just one more thing that stacks the higher education deck in favor of high-income students.

"Even though you might still get a certain kind of diversity in terms of people from other places," he said, "you might be losing a certain amount of economic diversity."

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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