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Minn. chancellor asking for lower tuition increase

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Students attending schools in the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system next fall may see the lowest tuition increases since 1998.

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Chancellor James McCormick proposes limiting tuition increases to 3 percent at state universities and 2 percent at two-year colleges.

Tuesday's announcement was good news for students at Moorhead campuses, who have seen tuition increases as high as 15 percent in recent years.

"We do know that the cost of higher education has really strained some family and individual student budgets," said Minnesota State University Moorhead spokesman Doug Hamilton. "Any relief that can be offered is to be appreciated."

The recommendation needs approval from the MnSCU Board of Trustees, which will act on tuition rates in March.

If approved, MSUM would continue to have the lowest tuition of the six state universities that have residence halls.

Tuition at all four campuses of Minnesota State Community and Technical College would continue to be slightly higher than the average of the state's two-year colleges.

For the current academic year, students at both MSUM and MSCTC saw a 4 percent tuition increase.

But just a few years ago, students were accustomed to double-digit increases.

"There's a definite realization that we've had some pretty steep hikes along the way," said Jerry Migler, provost of the Moorhead campus of MSCTC.

Campuses planned their budgets assuming tuition would increase about 4 percent next year, said MnSCU spokeswoman Melinda Voss.

MnSCU will provide additional funding to campuses to offset the difference, she said.

"Because the tuition increase is so low, it could have had an adverse effect on the budgets of our colleges and universities," Voss said.

Jered Weber, Minnesota State University Moorhead student senate president, said he was happy to hear the chancellor's tuition proposal.

"It's always a good thing when they keep the tuition increases as low as possible," Weber said.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590

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