MSA touches on tuition

At the MSA meeting, members discussed the University's budget requests.

Chad Hamblin

The University will probably not get all the money it wants from the state in the 2006-07 fiscal years,

University chief financial officer Richard Pfutzenreuter said at a Minnesota Student Association meeting Tuesday.

“We never get what we ask for,” he said. “Hopefully we won’t get cut again.”

Pfutzenreuter spoke at the meeting for approximately half an hour to educate MSA Forum members about the biennium budget request, which is $42 million.

Over the last decade, the University hasn’t been a top priority in the state budget, he said.

If students want the state to make the University a higher priority, Pfutzenreuter said, they should lobby at the Capitol.

“Students need to be engaged in this discussion and actively participate,” he said. “The more informed they are, the more motivated they’ll be.”

Pfutzenreuter also said the decline in state funding isn’t unique to Minnesota.

“This is a national trend and I don’t see it stopping,” he said.

The University’s faculty is among the lowest-paid compared to similar universities, Pfutzenreuter said. The biennium request includes a projected 3 percent salary increase for faculty and staff, he said.

This caused a few MSA members to ask questions.

“You’re telling us that our tuition’s going up and your salary is going up simultaneously?” MSA Forum member Ian Patterson said.

Nathan Wanderman defended the decision to increase salaries and said the University will lose quality professors if it doesn’t keep their pay competitive.

“I would be willing to pay 5.5 percent more to make sure the quality of my education doesn’t go down,” said Wanderman, a student representative to the Board of Regents.

MSA president Tom Zearley said the group asked Pfutzenreuter to speak at the meeting.

“A lot of students wonder why their tuition’s going up,” Zearley said. “(This was) an opportunity to hear from the horse’s mouth what’s happening.”

After Pfutzenreuter’s presentation, the MSA Forum passed a resolution to support the University’s biennium request. In the biennium request, the University asks for money from the state every two years.

The group also resolved to send letters to Minnesota legislators asking them to pledge support for the biennium budget proposal.