UMN students and legislators meet to discuss rising tuition costs

The forum was part of larger nationwide movement.

Students resume their day outside Anderson Hall on West Bank Monday late afternoon

Daily File Photo

Students resume their day outside Anderson Hall on West Bank Monday late afternoon

by Raju Chaduvula

Part of a nationwide, daylong movement, University of Minnesota students and faculty members met with elected officials at a forum Wednesday to discuss ways to make college tuition more affordable.

The event, #CampusResistance, was co-sponsored by MN Academics United, Service Employees International Union and several other organizations and allowed two elected officials — Sen. Scott Dibble, DFL-Minneapolis, and Rep. Debra Hilstrom, DFL-Brooklyn Center — to hear from University staff and students.

The forum covered concerns over high administrative salaries, the need for increased administrative transparency on budget use and the inclusion of student and staff voices in the Board of Regents’ selection process.

Ian Ringgenberg, an honors advisor at the University, said the University’s tuition model needs to change.

He said the University has a “high-cost, high-support” model, meaning it increases tuition to achieve specific goals.

Instead, Riggenberg said if the University pulls back costs and looks at higher education as a public good, more people will be willing and able to afford to go to college.

Mitchell LeGrand, an undergraduate who works for Minnesota Public Interest Research Group said one way to help is increasing minimum wage for student workers on campus.

LeGrand also said the administration needs to be more transparent with how state funding is allocated.

Hilstrom, who’s on the State House Ways and Means Committee, said college costs are at a point where “if you put the burden on the student, they can’t afford it.”

“I will be for college affordability,” she said, adding that the legislature has the ability to improve the situation for students.