University acting in best interest of Minn.

Wisconsin residents should have to pay the same tuition that Minnesota residents pay.

The University is threatening to exit its reciprocity agreement with the state of Wisconsin in the fall of 2008 unless the state negotiates with the University to set new terms for the agreement.

Since 1997, when the agreement was last revised, tuition rates at Minnesota schools have inflated beyond those in Wisconsin, resulting in a disparate gap between Minnesota and Wisconsin students attending the University of Minnesota. Wisconsin residents now pay about $1,500 less than Minnesota residents to attend the University. It is clear that what was the best for the University in 1997 is no longer working. We think that the University is acting in the best interest of its students and the state of Minnesota.

While allowing Wisconsin residents to pay Wisconsin tuition rates at Minnesota schools likely lures many students across state lines, it is unlikely that the proposed revision to the agreement, which would cause Wisconsin residents to pay the same tuition as Minnesota residents, will turn these prospective students away. The University will still be as affordable to Wisconsin residents as it is to Minnesota residents, as it should be. It isn’t as if the University is asking Wisconsin residents to pay out-of-state rates.

The revision will also help the University regain funding that would otherwise have been lost. Since 1997, it is estimated that the University has lost around $6 million each year because of the difference in tuition rates. Every little bit of income will help keep tuition increases lower, which will in turn keep education more affordable for everyone.

Students come to the University to get an education. We are all buying the same product. Why should another state’s residents pay less than Minnesota residents?