Both University of Minnesota President Eric Kaler and MnSCU Chancellor Steven Rosenstone recently appeared on Capitol Report, talking tuition, funding and working together.
Kaler on the challenges of falling state funding and rising tuition:
"On the state funding front, we need to communicate the value that we bring to the people of the state of Minnesota more effectively and more clearly. And that's my job. So I'm going to be meeting with legislators, meeting with the governor, talking with their staffs about the value and the importance of a great research institution to the state of Minnesota.
On the tuition front we have to manage these increases. As state funding as dropped, we've asked students to share about the third of the funding of that gap. That's moved our tuition up to a level that I think is about as high as we can reasonably take it. So I am going to work very hard both on state funding and on philanthropy which will bring in scholarship relief to students who will be paying our tuition."
On certain U schools considering breaking from state funding and going it alone:
"There are several high quality law schools at public universities across the country that do not receive state funding. I am comfortable with that model. The tuition that law schools can charge, backed up with some pretty significant scholarship support, help let that law school stand alone.
Programs that have an undergraduate component -- particularly the Carlson School is the other school that's been discussed in this model -- I am concerned about how the dollars would work there to ensure the access for all our undergraduate students who want to be part of the Carlson School. So that needs some more thought in my mind about how we would manage that access issue."
Rosenstone on MnSCU's broad mission:
"We're responsible for educating 430,000 students across the state. They range from students that are coming out of high school and are beginning either a two or four-year program. But they're also a lot of workers who need to be retrained because their jobs have disappeared and they need to be ready for new careers. But they're also a lot of workers who need to have the latest technology, particular kind of machines that might be on the manufacturing floor and the like.
We're the system that's responsible for all ends of the spectrum from two-year certificates to graduate degrees and the system that's responsible for making sure Minnesota's ready for work."
Rosenstone on how much of a tuition increase is reasonable:
"As small as humanly possible. Simply put, if we continue to place the burden of higher education on our students, we're running head against our mission of access of higher education...
We need to be opening the doors of higher education to more students than ever before. And if instead we're pricing tuition out of reach of students and their families then we're fighting against the thing we need to be accomplishing for the state of Minnesota to succeed in this new economy. So my goal is to ensure that we provide the most-effective higher education in the state and that as the state cuts our support for higher education that we're finding every way humanly possible to do our work in more efficient ways..."