Tuition freeze to continue for University of Minnesota undergrads

  • Article by: MAURA LERNER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: May 2, 2014 - 9:47 PM

The measure only applies to resident undergraduates.

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The University of Minnesota campus in January.

Photo: JEFF WHEELER, Star Tribune

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For the second year in a row, the University of Minnesota plans to freeze tuition for undergraduate state residents.

The two-year freeze was part of a deal struck with Gov. Mark Dayton and state lawmakers in 2013, when they agreed to boost state funding for the university by $42 million.

On Friday, President Eric Kaler kept his side of the bargain when he released his proposal for the 2014-15 school year.

For Minnesota residents, undergraduate tuition will remain at $12,060 on the Twin Cities campus, and $11,720 at three of the other four campuses.

Crookston, which has the lowest tuition in the U system, will continue to charge $10,030.

Some undergraduates, in fact, may end up paying less than last year, thanks to increases in federal and state grants for low-income students, said Vice President Richard Pfutzenreuter, the chief financial officer.

“A lot of kids are going to see a net decrease in the cost of attending the university,” he said.

Tuition increases at the U had been an annual ritual until last year, in part because of a steady decrease in state funding. To break the cycle, the Legislature agreed to raise the state appropriation for two years. In return, the university vowed not to raise tuition to Minnesota undergraduates for the same period.

The Legislature struck a similar deal with the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities system.

Room and board will rise

Still, some prices will go up under the budget proposal, which goes to the Board of Regents next week.

Room and board would rise by 1 to 3 percent, depending on the campus. On the Twin Cities campus, it will cost $8,554 next year, an increase of $242.

At the same time, the tuition freeze did not apply to graduate students or nonresidents.

Next fall, tuition will rise as much as 5.5 percent for undergraduates who are nonresidents, and up to 3 percent for graduate students.

For the first time in years, though, both the medical school and veterinary school will hold their tuition flat, according to the president’s budget.

Just as this year, tuition for first-year medical students will be $37,872 for residents, $49,767 for nonresidents.

Overall, the budget proposal for the university — $3.6 billion — calls for a 2.5 percent pay raise for faculty and staff. Among other things, it projects a $20 million cut in administration expenses.

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