U of M Board of Regents approves annual budget

The University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents approved a fiscal year 2016 operating budget during a special meeting today. The $3.7 billion budget invests in access, affordability and academic excellence, among other priorities.

"In all, this budget reflects the Board and President's deep commitment to access and affordability and to operational and academic excellence," said Board Chair Regent Beeson. "We are pleased with the investment it makes in key academic areas and our employees, and believe this represents a balanced approach."

A tuition increase of 1.5 percent ($150-$180 depending on campus) for resident students was approved, the lowest percentage increase in 15 years. For resident graduate/professional students, tuition increases range from 2.5 percent to 3.5 percent. Non-resident undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus will see an increase of 7 percent, or $1,350 annually, reflecting the U’s goal to move that rate to the middle of the Big Ten.

“We have been able to grow out-of-state enrollments by 200 percent over the past eight years while continuing to enroll a stable number of Minnesota students,” said Kaler. “That means we can, and should, slowly begin to increase the tuition rate for out of state students. But, as students discussed in the public budget forum, raising the rate too quickly and with little warning will burden students and their families. We need to be attentive to that to maintain enrollment and help all students manage debt.”

Low- and middle-income students will largely have the tuition increase offset through new investments by the University, state and federal financial aid, including a proposed $1.4 million increase in need- and merit-based aid. The new aid will mitigate or eliminate the tuition increase for 42 percent of the U’s resident undergraduates who have family incomes below $100,000 annually.

Kaler said that tuition increases would have been higher without administrative cost reductions. This budget contains an additional $17.4 million in savings, for a three-year total of $57.8 million, nearly two-thirds of the way toward Kaler’s goal of $90 million by the end of FY19.

New investments in academic programs, the Medical School, the Twin Cities campus strategic plan, the U’s system campuses and 2 percent merit-based compensation increases for faculty and staff are also included. More details on the operating budget are available here.

The Board also approved the FY2016 capital budget at today’s meeting, which authorizes nearly $130.9 million for the design or construction of projects.

The Board will meet again Wednesday, July 8.

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