The University’s bailout

In-state students will be protected from rising tuition, thanks to federal stimulus dollars.

University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks recently recommended a 3.1 percent increase for University undergraduates to the Board of Regents âÄî a move undergraduate students should greet with praise and one that the Board of Regents should pass. After a disappointing legislative session wherein a record state deficit was met with bitter partisanship rather than reconciliation, federal stimulus dollars saved resident undergraduates. ItâÄôs disappointing the same cannot be said for out-of-state residents attending the University or for graduate students, who will feel the full brunt of a 7.5 percent tuition increase. A trend for many universities is the use of federal stimulus money to relieve the pain of the rising tuition. Students across the country can be thankful that the federal government allocated money toward blunting tuition costs, which for years had been rising exponentially across the nation, thus driving a generation of graduating students into a canyon of debt. But whatâÄôs going to happen after the next two years for both the University and higher education institutions across the nation is anyoneâÄôs guess. As Bruininks recently stated , âÄúThe concern, long-term, is what will the level of state support be for the University of Minnesota in the years 2012 and 2013.âÄù The federal government probably wonâÄôt continue to provide bailouts to states that do not support their higher education institutions once the economy rebounds. ThatâÄôs why, when federal stimulus funds dry up in 2012, state support, along with a better economy, should be there to cushion the void. This gives time for the state to realize how students had to rely on stimulus money because of its failure to provide adequate funding to institutions of higher education in Minnesota.