U of M responds to MN House press conference on higher education budget
Today, University of Minnesota Vice President for University and Government Relations Matt Kramer responded to a press conference held by Minnesota House Higher Education Committee Chair Bud Nornes and Majority Leader Joyce Peppin:
Today, Chair Nornes and Majority Leader Peppin held a press conference to discuss the higher education budget bill to be heard on the House floor this afternoon. Representative Nornes asserted that the University “said they would increase tuition” and Majority Leader Peppin made a comment to the effect that “Even if we funded their entire request, the University was going to increase tuition.” These statements are inaccurate.
The University of Minnesota works tirelessly to make a world-class education as affordable as possible for our students. From scholarships to financial assistance, we use each and every tool to maximize the resource dollars available for our students.
It was asserted in the press conference that we have not accomplished a tuition freeze. This is untrue. With state investment, the University implemented a system-wide tuition freeze in 2013 and 2014. Moreover, the University has limited tuition increases to an average annual increase of 1 percent over the last four years for resident undergraduate students on the Twin Cities campus. Campuses in Crookston, Duluth, Morris and Rochester have experienced an average annual increase of only 0.4 percent for the same time period.
We have provided Chair Nornes with a specific budget number that pares our request down to just our operating expenses, initiatives to enhance student success, and a 2 percent inflationary cost increase. That amount would freeze tuition across the entire system. We are unsure why this number is not being used, while Minnesota State is receiving exactly what they need to accomplish a tuition freeze.
We are committed to advancing our shared economic success as Minnesota's only research university. Our work benefits all citizens across this state, from farmers to doctors to business leaders. We look forward to working with the Legislature to fund our request so that we can maximize success for all Minnesotans.