MnSCU to increase tuition

From staff and news service reports

Minnesota State Colleges and Universities administrators on Tuesday proposed a 10.8 percent average increase in tuition.

The increase must be approved by the system's trustees, who plan to conduct public hearings next month before coming forth with their final decision.

MnSCU has 125,000 full-time students in 34 institutions, including Rochester Community and Technical College in Rochester and Riverland Community College in Austin. The increase would bump the average tuition to about $2,400 a year at both institutions.

MnSCU and its member institutions had to dip into their reserves to help offset further increases, according to Nancy Conner, director of media relations for MnSCU. MnSCU schools increased tuition 10.9 percent in 2001.


MnSCU officials had originally projected an average 12.7 percent tuition increase for next year.

The Legislature, as part of its effort to balance the state's budget, cut $23 million from the MnSCU system.

"The real question is what's the ability of taxpayers to keep funding education and keep the costs low," said Conner.

Tuition costs have risen between 4 percent and 11 percent since 1995, with the most dramatic jump occurring in fiscal year 2001. Enrollment stands at just more than 123,000 this year, up from about 111,000 in 1995.

Still, officials consider the increase to be large. MnSCU Chancellor James McCormick said he tried to save money by cutting his own staff and dipping into central reserves before raising tuition.

"I'm sorry we're in a predicament that we have a large tuition increase," McCormick said.

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