University of Minnesota regents may freeze, raise in-state tuition slightly
MINNEAPOLIS—Minnesota residents attending the University of Minnesota can expect a modest or no tuition increase this fall.
In a preliminary budget discussion Thursday, university leaders said they wanted to keep tuition growth below the inflation rate. Regents were given funding scenarios for a tuition freeze and increases of 1 and 2 percent.
Regents won't make final budget decisions until June but they're getting involved earlier this year rather than reacting to President Eric Kaler's recommendations. They've already committed to a 15 percent increase in nonresident tuition next year, which should net the U about $7.5 million.
Regents Steve Sviggum and Michael Hsu said they'd aim to freeze in-state tuition at $12,800.
Regent Ken Powell said he "can live with" a 1 percent increase but said he's more concerned with paying employees well enough to stay competitive.
Every 1 percent increase in resident tuition means another $3.4 million in revenue for the Twin Cities campus.
Every 1 percent increase to the salary pool costs $11.9 million. Regents reviewed scenarios from no pay raises and up to 2 percent.
The cost of fringe benefits for employees will go up about $8.1 million next year.
The U also typically spends $10 million to $20 million each year toward strategic goals, such as strengthening academic programs or boosting student services.
Meanwhile, the U will continue to trim administrative costs, as it set out to do in 2013 under pressure from lawmakers. They have $11 million in reallocations to go to reach their six-year, $90 million target, which largely has been accomplished by eliminating jobs and hiring less-experienced people.
Some regents Thursday called on state lawmakers to send more money to the U so they don't have to rely on tuition increases.
"We need our share of their money," Richard Beeson said.