Tuition has increased over 150% in nominal terms over the last decade at the Twin Cities Campus, far outstripping inflation. Most recently, undergraduate tuition increased in 2009 by $720 or 7.3%. In 2010, tuition is projected to increase again by roughly $780 or 7.5%. The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, also known as the federal stimulus package, will pay for part of that increase, so tuition provisionally increases by about half that much, or $300 and $450, respectively. In 2011, the hammer will drop and students will pay the full $1500 increase of the tuition hikes. The Daily has pointed out the deliberate obfuscation of the administration on tuition increases: “President Robert Bruininks is quoted as saying, "Student tuition increases will not exceed 3 percent this year and not exceed 4.5 percent next year." But these numbers hide their temporary nature. In fact, tuition increased by more than 7% this year and is projected to increase by 7.5% next year. The Daily Editorial Board is not calling President Bruininks a liar, but he is definitely not telling the whole truth.” http://www.mndaily.com/2009/09/15/its-time-talk-tuition
Tuition increases during this period cannot be explained fully by cuts in state funding to the University. (See pages 3 and 4 of the admin's March 12 presentation to the regents: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/30322747/March-12-Board-of-Regents) The state allocation for 2010, $623.4 million dollars, is about the same as the state allocation in 2007, $620 million. Granted, $620 million in 2010 is worth less than $620 million in 2007. But inflation has been low, and in the interim, there have been salary freezes and a hiring pause. Why the need for yet another brutal round of tuition increases for our students? Balancing the budget on the backs of our students is unsustainable. Raising scholarships to cover the costs of higher tuition is a band-aid that does not deal with the fundamental problem of exorbitant increases in tuition. Some rethinking is in order.