This means that the university made an instructional profit on each student of $15,553 for a total of $2.6 billion. In other words, teaching undergrads is a highly profitable business, and these students actually subsidize everything else universities do.We don't have access to all the same types of data for UMN that Samuels did ... but we've got enough of it to approximate his analysis here. And what we're missing (e.g., figures on how much the state subsidizes each student) would tend to skew the figures that we can generate in ways that make things look better than they actually are.
By our calculations, roughly $288m of the $1.2b that the UMN system spends on payroll each year goes towards faculty and instructors who actually teach undergraduates. With roughly 33,000 undergraduates system-wide, that works out to a per-student instructional cost of $8,667.72 for one year. Annual in-state tuition and fees, however, are $12,288. That's a profit of more than $3,600 per student before we factor in whatever portion of the state appropriation is actually spent on undergraduate education.
To be sure, some of that excess helps to fund facilities and services that are vital to undergraduate education. Libraries, computer labs, and classroom maintenance (to name just three) aren't free, and there are thousands of front-line non-instructional staff without whom undergraduate instruction would be impossible.
But when tuition is going up, and the budgets for support facilities are being slashed, it's clear that the administration is working overtime to funnel more and more tuition dollars into projects that aren't part of the university's educational mission at all.