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UMN wants another $10M to freeze in-state tuition

ST. PAUL—The University of Minnesota will ask the Legislature for an extra $10 million to finance a tuition freeze next year for Minnesota residents at all of its campuses.

The two-year budget lawmakers adopted last year awarded the university $658.7 million in base funding this year and $10 million less than that in 2018-19. Knowing that funding would decline, the university spent $10 million last year on one-time repairs and renovations.

But given the state's projected $329 million surplus for the biennium, U officials think they can sell lawmakers on a supplemental appropriation.

Legislative leaders have said they're "at least tentatively open to modest requests" for more funding, said Matt Kramer, vice president for university and government relations.

In preliminary budget talks, regents have explored anywhere from a tuition freeze to a 2 percent increase if they don't get extra state aid.

President Eric Kaler said a third tuition freeze in six years for the Twin Cities — and fourth for the coordinate campuses — would be "an important step in that continuing journey" toward affordability for Minnesota residents.

At least four regents are interested in going further, with help from the Legislature, to reduce the sticker price, which this year is $12,800 for resident Twin Cities students.

Regents already have decided nonresident tuition will increase 15 percent next year.