New budget may freeze tuition

Approval would benefit many, including some postgraduates.

If approved, President Eric Kaler’s budget request will extend the University of Minnesota’s current resident undergraduate tuition freeze through the 2016-17 school year and expand it to include graduate and professional students.

The proposal asks the state Legislature for more than $1.3 billion over two years. Annually, that includes a $127 million, or 10.6 percent, increase in state funding from the current budget. If approved, the University’s budget will equal the all-time high it reached in 2008 before cutbacks caused by the recession.

Before it goes to state lawmakers, the budget request must first pass the Board of Regents, which reviewed the proposal during its monthly meeting Friday. Some regents at the meeting showed approval for Kaler’s plan.

The University’s in-state tuition freeze began in 2012, and the current yearly tuition for a student on the Twin Cities campus is $12,060.

If the tuition freeze continues, incoming freshmen will save at least $2,133 over four years. Graduate students seeking a two-year master’s degree would save about $1,600 over the course of their program, while students attending medical school would save approximately $5,000 in four years.

We support the extended tuition freeze, as we feel hopeful about its ability to ease the financial burden that graduate and professional students assume when they choose to attend the University. Graduate and professional students are an integral part of the student body — it’s time they enjoyed the same tuition benefits as undergraduates.